Monday, April 9, 2012

2012-13 FAFSA Question

Here's a good question that was asked recently: "If my FAFSA is verified and I am widowed, how do I verify just my income since 1040s are no longer acceptable?"

This question deals with a few elements. Remember that if you are divorced, widowed, or separated, you don't have to use your spouse's income on the FAFSA (this goes for students and parents of students). You should also be aware that this means that you can't count them as a member of the household either. So, because you don't have to include the spouse's income and you are only counting your own, where do you get this information?

The way the rules currently are is different than the way the rules are for July 1. Currently, if you are verified, you have to submit a copy of your 1040 tax return, and if you fall into the category of being separated, widowed, or divorced, then you could submit your W-2 or state 1040. In Missouri, income is separated into how much was earned by each member (filer and spouse). The Missouri return was perfect for this since most people keep their state and federal returns together. Unfortunately, in July the state return is no longer acceptable, and this is what the question deals with.

The answer is the W-2. Copies of the W-2s are still acceptable, so you will need to present these to the FA office when you are widowed, divorced, or separated in order to more accurately report your income on the FAFSA. Also, remember that the FAFSA has the line "as of today", meaning that you are divorced, widowed, or separated as of the day you fill it out.

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