Case study: Rabbi Yehuda Fried* is a rebbi with eight children and an annual salary of $50,000. Out of the $50k he earns, Rabbi Fried receives $10k in the form of parsonage. (Parsonage is a tax benefit given to clergy members. Money designated as parsonage may be used for housing expenses only – rent, mortgage, remodeling, etc.) As an added benefit, his yeshiva also gives him a tuition credit of $7,000 to be used towards his children’s tuition. Additionally, he receives approximately $10,000 a year from various friends and relatives to help him cover the expenses related to yomim tovim and family simchos.
Question: What portion of Rabbi Fried’s income is counted as far as government program eligibility is concerned?
Answer: Rabbi Fried’s base salary is obviously considered income. However, there are three areas of ambiguity that must be clarified when reviewing Rabbi Fried’s case. Those are: the money he receives as parsonage, the $10k he receives from his relatives as charity, and the tuition benefit from his yeshiva.
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