AmeriCorps Living Allowance

What is the AmeriCorps living allowance?
The AmeriCorps living allowance is an amount of money set by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that full-time AmeriCorps members receive during their year of service.  The living allowance for the 2015-16 service year is $12,530.

What is the living allowance used for?
The intent of the living allowance is that it be used for living expenses incurred by the member during the service year.  Before JVC Northwest became an AmeriCorps National Grantee, our individual partner agencies paid for the living costs of the JVs.  By becoming an AmeriCorps grantee we were able to substantially reduce the costs to our partner agencies and ultimately serve more people in need.  The living allowance is used to cover housing costs, food, utilities, transport to and from the service site, medical deductibles and co-pays and other costs incurred during the service year.  JVC Northwest offers to cover the cost of the monthly insurance premium on a basic medical plan.  While the housing cost is a set amount, the JV AmeriCorps member will cover his/her share of the communal cost of food, utilities and other community-incurred costs with the living allowance.  The monthly cost of living may vary, e.g., utility bills, especially in Alaska, can be quite high in the winter months.  At Orientation, we will discuss how to adhere to our core value of simple living in light of receiving the living allowance.

How do AmeriCorps members receive the living allowance?
JVC Northwest distributes the living allowance according to AmeriCorps guidelines.  The AmeriCorps member receives the allowance in equal amounts over a period of 10, 11 or 12 months, depending on where the member is serving.

Is the living allowance taxable?
Yes.  Our experience is that if one claims a deduction of “0” on the I-9 form, one will not owe taxes on the living allowance income.   However, individual circumstances vary and if an individual has other income from the tax year, taxes would differ accordingly.  If this is a concern, we suggest you consult a tax expert.

Do all JVs receive a living allowance?
No.  JVs whose positions do not qualify for AmeriCorps do not receive a living allowance.  Instead, JVC Northwest covers all of the community costs and insurance co-pays and deductibles up to the out of pocket maximum (in addition to paying the monthly insurance premium).  JVC Northwest will not reimburse any costs that are not covered by the insurance policy.  JVs who do not receive a living allowance receive a monthly personal stipend of $100.

Posted in: 5. AmeriCorps Program FAQs