Many public benefits determine eligibility by household income.
In 2013, Congress enacted legislation that permanently excludes any federal tax refund from counting as income in determining eligibility or the amount of benefit, for any federally-funded public benefit program. The refund can include benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), other tax credits, or refund of other withheld income tax.
Many benefits come with asset limits. Asset limits require that to receive certain benefits, you must own resources under a certain limit. Any refunds you save do not count against the resource limits of any federally-funded public benefit program for 12 months after the refund is received.
Tax credit refunds deposited in certain types of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts do not count as a resource in determining eligibility for federally-funded public benefit programs, including state cash assistance (TANF) programs.