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SSI Resources - Valuation and Counting

This topic includes sections discussing how resources are counted, when resources are valued, liquid and nonliquid resources, and ownership issues. In this topic, section numbers refer to the SSA handbook.

Liquid and Nonliquid Resources (2149)

Resources generally are categorized as either liquid or nonliquid. The distinction is significant for purposes of determining whether a resource can be excluded as nonbusiness property essential to self-support (see 2157) or whether the individual might qualify for conditional payments (see 2163).

A. Liquid resources are those resources which are in the form of cash or which are convertible to cash within 20 working days. The most common types of liquid resources are savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, promissory notes and certain types of life insurance.

B. Nonliquid resources are all resources that cannot be converted to cash within 20 working days. They include both real and personal property. Some kinds of resources may be either liquid or nonliquid (e.g., an automobile or life insurance).

Ownership of Resources (2151)

Resources may be owned outright by just one person or ownership may be shared by two or more people. Only that portion of a property that is designated as belonging to an individual can be considered the individual's resource (except for deeming as described in 2166). If there is more than one owner and an individual cannot liquidate his or her share of the property because the other owners will not give their consent, the individual's ownership share is not a resource. In time deposit or checking or savings accounts where the co-owner has unrestricted access to the funds, the individual is considered to own the entire amount, not simply a portion.

The total value of a countable property owned only by an individual and (eligible or ineligible) spouse is compared with the resource limit for a couple. (See 2165.)

NOTE: As of March 9, 2005, SSA has changed its resource-counting rules in the SSI program by eliminating the dollar value limit for the exclusion of household goods and personal effects. As a result, SSA will not count household goods and personal effects as resources. For more information see:

How Resources are Counted (2153)

Generally, both liquid and nonliquid resources are valued at their equity value. Equity value is the price for which the item can reasonably be expected to sell for on the open market in the particular geographic area minus any encumbrances. Exceptions to these general rules are:

1. Cash is always valued at its face value. The fact that the individual owes money does not mean that a specific amount of cash in hand or in a bank account is actually "encumbered".

2. An automobile which cannot be totally excluded on the basis of its use is valued on the basis of its current market value (see 2156). A second vehicle is valued at equity.

NOTE: As of March 9, 2005, SSA has changed its rules for excluding an automobile in determining the resources of an SSI applicant or recipient. SSA will exclude one automobile (the "first" automobile) from resources if it is used for transportation for the individual or a member of the individual's household, without consideration of its value. For more information see:

When Resources are Valued (2154)

An individual's (or couple's) countable resources are established for each month using their value as of the first moment of the month. Any increase or decrease in the value of countable resources, or any conversion of a resource from an excluded to a nonexcluded form (or vice versa), is not taken into consideration until the beginning of the following month. Even when an individual files a claim or seeks reinstatement during a month, the resources are valued as of the first moment of that month to determine eligibility.

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