How is income calculated when just coming out of unpaid leave?

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    Our daughter was diagnosed with Lymphoma last year and my wife and I took 3 months each of unpaid leave off to take care of her while on Chemo. Of course, that dropped our income for 2019. While I returned in January my wife is still on unpaid leave until next week but with the schools shutting down(she works for the school system) she won’t return until mid-april. We are both salaried at the same job for 6 years for me and 3 for my wife. To make things more confusing my job actually paid me while on “unpaid” leave because they didn’t put me in the system correctly. So now that I returned they are holding half of my pay until their gross overpayment is returned which should be by June. I have the money in my account but they chose to take half my check until its all returned. My MC looked confused so I’m hoping someone maybe @ttrumble could help me understand how I’ll be getting qualified regarding income? Between 2019 and 2018 we averaged $80,000 which is right below the MSA of $81,000. If we count what our salaries actually are we are at $97,000. I really hope someone can help shed some light. Thanks in advance!


    Hello coquipr79,

    You’re going to have a setback no matter what. The only question is how long.

    At the very least, you will not be able to be submitted for qualification until both you and your wife have 30 days of back-to-normal paystubs in your file. That includes after your repayment is finished and your wife is back to full-time work.

    Your counselor has good reason to be confused. Yours is a truly unusual situation. The counselor has a couple of in-house resources he or she can use for advice on how to calculate the income.

    Here’s my personal take on your situation, which I can address from a couple of perspectives. Like you, I am the father of a chronically ill child. I know first-hand what it is like for one or both parents to be off work for long periods to focus on your child’s fight against a life-threatening illness. It is disruptive in ways that go far beyond what anyone other than yourselves can recognize. Most importantly where NACA is concerned is the fact that there’s an extremely high probability that having to take time off work will happen again at some point.

    That dovetails into my NACA perspective. The fact that there has been one disruption in your income and the likelihood that it will happen again means we will probably calculate your income the same way as anyone whose income can be irregular, whether it be commission based income, on-call, seasonal or otherwise, which is to use the average income from the past two years’ tax returns and W2’s.

    I do have to note that the three-month leave of absence may create a 12-month setback. Considering the circumstances though, my money is on an exception being granted as long as the two-year average is used. Just provide proof of why you had to take the time off, write Letters of Explanation, and even get letters from your employers stating that your jobs are secure.

    The numbers are going to fall where they will, so I’m not even going to touch questions of priority status.

    I hope that helps at least a little and takes at least one concern off your minds.

    Tim Trumble
    Online Operations, NACA

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