38 CFR § 3.271 - Computation of income.
(a) General. Payments of any kind from any source shall be counted as income during the 12-month annualization period in which received unless specifically excluded under § 3.272.
(1) Recurring income. Recurring income means income which is received or anticipated in equal amounts and at regular intervals (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.), and which will continue throughout an entire 12-month annualization period. The amount of recurring income for pension purposes will be the amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period. Recurring income which terminates prior to being counted for at least one full 12-month annualization period will be treated as nonrecurring income for computation purposes.
(2) Irregular income. Irregular income means income which is received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period, but which is received in unequal amounts or at irregular intervals. The amount of irregular income for pension purposes will be the amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period following initial receipt of such income.
(3) Nonrecurring income. Nonrecurring income means income received or anticipated on a one-time basis during a 12-month annualization period (e.g., an inheritance). Pension computations of income will include nonrecurring income for a full 12-month annualization period following receipt of the income.
(b) Salary. Salary means the gross amount of a person's earnings or wages before any deductions are made for such things as taxes, insurance, retirement plans, social security, etc.
(c) Business, farm or professional income.
(1) This includes gross income from a business, farm or profession as reduced by the necessary operating expenses such as cost of goods sold, or expenditures for rent, taxes, and upkeep, or costs of repairs or replacements. The value of an increase in stock inventory of a business is not considered income.
(2) Depreciation is not a deductible expense.
(3) A loss sustained in operating a business, profession, farm, or from investments, may not be deducted from income derived from any other source.
(d) Income from property. Income from real or personal property is countable as income of the property's owner. The terms of a recorded deed or other evidence of title shall constitute evidence of ownership. This includes property acquired through purchase, gift, devise, or descent. If property is owned jointly, income of the various owners shall be determined in proportion to shares of ownership of the property. The owner's shares of income held in partnership shall be determined on the basis of the facts found.
(e) Installments. Income shall be determined by the total amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period.
(f) Deferred determinations.
(1) When an individual is unable to predict with certainty the amount of countable annual income, the annual rate of improved pension shall be reduced by the greatest amount of anticipated countable income until the end of the 12-month annualization period, when total income received during that period will be determined and adjustments in pension payable made accordingly.
(2) When a claimed dependent is shown to have income which exceeds the additional amount of benefits payable based on the claimed dependency, but evidence requirements of § 3.204, § 3.205, § 3.209, or § 3.210 have not been met, the maximum annual rate of improved pension shall be determined without consideration of the claimed dependency. This amount shall be reduced by an amount which includes the income of the unestablished dependent. Adjustments in computation of the maximum annual rate of improved pension shall occur following receipt of evidence necessary to establish the dependency.
(g) Compensation (civilian) for injury or death. Compensation paid by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Social Security Administration, or the Railroad Retirement Board, or pursuant to any worker's compensation or employer's liability statute, or damages collected because of personal injury or death, will be considered income as received. However, medical, legal or other expenses incident to the injury or death, or incident to the collection or recovery of the amount of the award or settlement, may be deducted. The criteria in § 3.272(g) apply as to all medical expenditures after the award or settlement.
(h) Fractions of dollars. Fractions of dollars will be disregarded in computing annual income.
(i) Waiver of receipt of income. Potential income that is not excludable under § 3.272 or § 3.279 but is waived by an individual is included as countable income of the individual. However, if an individual withdraws a claim for Social Security benefits, after a finding of entitlement to those benefits, in order to maintain eligibility for unreduced Social Security benefits upon reaching a particular age, VA will not regard this potential income as having been waived and will therefore not count it.
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