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FAFSA & Non-Reportable Income - help!!!

TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
What are the guidelines on non-reportable/non-taxable income (meaning it does NOT have to be included on tax-returns or reported to IRS) and FAFSA?
To clarify, for a previous year (2018/2019) I had NOT included this type of income (from my spouse) for my own FA, but this year (2019/2020) I did mistakenly include it. I then filed for a FA appeal with my school, and now the school is asking for verification for that income for the 2018/2019 years (or rather for 2016 - unclear why that year). I am aware I can go back and correct it on the current FAFSA, but I also don't want to make things worse by making it look like I'm trying to hide something... was I wrong not to include that income on the first FAFSA? Again, these are benefits that are non-taxable/non-reportable anywhere, but here's me, freaking out because I think all is lost and I'm seeing my college career going down the drain... I might go and try to talk with someone at the school tomorrow that might help me clear this up before I contact FA office again, but meanwhile, I really would appreciate some advice!

Replies to: FAFSA & Non-Reportable Income - help!!!

  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    Define what this non reportable income is? This has now triggered a look at retrospective aid, so someone in FA doesn't agree.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    It's VA disability benefits my spouse receives. He is also registered with a Department of Labor program that did NOT require him to include this as actual income, as it is deemed non-taxable/non-reportable. I did include the amounts for my first 2018/2019 special condition application as additional proof of household income (as I am, myself, not able to work, so this is/was our only income, aside from GI Bill benefits), so it isn't like the school did not know the money was there. It just wasn't included in the FAFSA itself.
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 4,261 Senior Member
    I am aware I can go back and correct it on the current FAFSA, but I also don't want to make things worse by making it look like I'm trying to hide something... was I wrong not to include that income on the first FAFSA?

    Without knowing specifically what kind of income this is and where it came from, there is no way to answer your question.

    ...now the school is asking for verification for that income for the 2018/2019 years (or rather for 2016 - unclear why that year).

    Because 2016 income was used to complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    edited May 9
    Please see my other response above - it was/is VA disability compensation my spouse receives.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    edited May 9
    Like I said - I'd really appreciate any guidance on what to do next! I know I probably can't just withdraw my special condition application for the current year, but I'm afraid that if I try to change the FAFSA itself, it'll just make things much worse... and if that's not bad enough, my advisor cannot help me either, as she just accepted another position at another school last week, so there's currently no one anymore at the school itself that I can work with...
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 4,261 Senior Member
    It appears that VA disability compensation received by either the student or the student's spouse needs to be reported on FAFSA, question 45.h. as untaxed income.

    Veterans noneducation benefits, such as Disability, Death Pension, or Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and/or VA Educational Work-Study allowances.

    It's VA disability benefits my spouse receives. He is also registered with a Department of Labor program that did NOT require him to include this as actual income, as it is deemed non-taxable/non-reportable.

    Department of Labor reporting rules and requirements cannot be used to determine Department of Education requirements for FAFSA reporting.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    So, there's really nothing I can do? I could understand the current issue if I had NOT told the school the money was there, however, as I said, I did include those monies when I was asked to verify our household income. The screenshot I sent the FA office at that time showing the VA payment schedule, amounts and dates was deemed good enough to adjust the Pell amounts for that year.

    I did the same thing with the current application, but now I'm being asked to provide official VA confirmation of those non-education payments, which, frankly, does not exist (only way to verify the payments is through a secure website, they do NOT send statements).

    I am fairly certain that there's a new director in the FA office that I'd never dealt with before, so maybe that's why she's extra picky, but nevertheless - since the school knew the money was there for the first application, might it be good enough to go back and talk to them in person, tell them the situation, or is that likely to create further issues?
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 4,261 Senior Member
    At this point I'm not sure what you are asking about. It doesn't seem like there's any question that the VA disability compensation needs to be reported on FAFSA. As far as how to deal with reporting errors on any FAFSA, have an honest conversation with a leader in your school's FA office and find out what you need to do.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Understood. I suppose I'm freaking out because I'm scared that somehow all my hard work so far was for nothing. But you're right, perhaps having a conversation with them directly will help clear this up and maybe things will turn out alright after all. Appreciate your input - thank you!
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 15,436 Senior Member
    You need to give them what they are requesting. We have no way of knowing whether this will create issues for you, but you have to deal with it because they requested information from you. Take a deep breath and don't get ahead of yourself. Gather your information, submit it to the school, and wait to find out the results.
  • TemptedTigressTemptedTigress Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    will go see them this morning - very short night, but I'd prefer to get this cleared up in person if I can rather, than having to sit and wait for someone to answer my email. Again - I truly appreciate all your input!
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,711 Senior Member
    Don't sweat this. The financial aid process is confusing to many people - not just you. The school Financial Aid office personnel really are there to help you navigate the process. Since they have limited funds to disperse, they naturally have rules they have to follow, but they aren't going out of their way to single you out and dash your college dreams.

    They will explain what they need from you, and why - or how they use the information they are asking for. They are just doing their job to be fair to everyone, and they would treat everyone in your situation the same way.
  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU Registered User Posts: 1,499 Senior Member
    As far as providing documentation, if you or your spouse can see the information through a website, print or do screen prints to document the information they requested.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    edited May 10
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