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.
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).
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.)
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.
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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