TN 29 (06-13)

SI 01140.205 Joint Checking and Savings Accounts

A. Introduction

The instructions in this section apply to joint accounts only and supplement those in Checking and Savings Accounts SI 01140.200.

B. Policy on ownership assumptions

1. Account holders include one or more claimants or recipients

If there is more than one claimant or recipient, assume that all the funds in the account belong to the claimant(s) or recipient(s), in equal shares.

2. Account holders include one or more deemors and no claimants or recipients

Provided that none of the account holders is a claimant or recipient (in which case the assumption in SI 01140.205B.1. would apply), assume that all the funds in the account belong to the deemor(s), in equal shares, if there is more than one deemor.

C. Procedure for documenting co-owned accounts in MSSICS

1. Co-owners include only SSI claimants or recipients

When a supplemental security income (SSI) eligible individual alleges co-ownership of an account and the co-owner(s) is also an SSI claimant or recipient, we assume the funds in the account belong to the SSI eligible(s) in equal shares. Document the alleged and verified account values by:

  • entering the total account balance on each co-owner’s Modernized Supplemental Security Income Claims System (MSSICS) Financial Institution Account (RFIA) page, and then

  • exclude the appropriate portion that belongs to the co-owner(s) using the excluded amount field in the Financial Institution Account page.

2. Co-owners include at least one ineligible individual

When a claimant or recipient co-owns an account with someone who is not eligible for SSI benefits, we assume that all the funds in the account belong to the SSI claimant or recipient. Document the alleged and verified account values by:

  • Posting the total balances on the claimant’s or recipient’s Financial Institution Account page.

  • Record a zero balance on the deemor’s Financial Institution Account page if the co-owner is an ineligible deemor.

  • Inform the claimant or recipient of our ownership assumption and about the rebuttal process, described in SI 01140.205D.

D. Procedures for initial claims and post-eligibility

1. Informing the claimant, recipient, or deemor

Inform the claimant, recipient, or deemor:

  • of the applicable ownership assumption;

  • of the corresponding income implications (for income derived from joint bank Accounts, see SI 00810.130); and

  • of his or her right to provide evidence rebutting the ownership assumption if he or she disagrees.

2. Claimant, recipient, or deemor wishes to rebut

a. Rebuttal statement

If a claimant, recipient or deemor wishes to rebut the applicable ownership assumption, obtain his or her statement on a form containing the penalty clause regarding:

  • who owns the funds;

  • why there is a joint account;

  • who made deposits to and withdrawals from the account; and

  • how the claimant, recipient, or deemor spent the withdrawals.

To document the claimant, recipient, or deemor’s rebuttal statement, you may use:

  • the paper SSA-2574 (Information about Joint Checking/Savings Accounts),

  • the paper SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or Other Person), or

  • the electronic version of the SSA-795 in MSSICS.

For an exhibit of the SSA-2574, see SI 01140.205G.

b. Required evidence for the rebuttal

Inform the claimant, recipient, or deemor that he or she must submit the following evidence within 30 days:

  • A corroborating statement on an SSA-795 or the Person Statement (DPST) screen in MSSICS from each other account holder (if the only other account holder is incompetent or a minor, have the claimant, recipient, or deemor submit a corroborating statement from anyone aware of the circumstances surrounding establishment of the account); and

  • Account records showing deposits, withdrawals, and interest in the months for which ownership is an issue.

c. Additional evidence required for full and partial rebuttals

Full and partial rebuttals require the following additional evidence:

  • If the claimant, recipient, or deemor does not own any of the funds, evidence showing that he or she can no longer withdraw funds from the account.

  • If the claimant, recipient, or deemor owns only a portion of the funds, evidence showing removal from the account of such funds, or removal of the funds owned by the other account holder(s), and re-designation of the account.

d. Rebuttal determination

If the evidence establishes that the other account owner owns the funds and that the claimant, recipient, or deemor can no longer withdraw from the account, then the funds were not, and are not, the claimant, recipient, or deemor’s resources. That is, rebuttal is both retroactive and prospective.

NOTE: Even if the tolerance for verifying liquid resources would otherwise apply, you must verify joint account balances if an individual rebuts ownership of any of the funds in an account.

E. Procedure for documenting a rebuttal in MSSICS

1. Initial documentation

Until the claimant, recipient, or deemor provides the necessary rebuttal statements and evidence, follow normal procedures and document the account on the MSSICS Financial Institution Account page, indicating it is co-owned, but that the whole balance is a resource to the claimant, recipient, or deemor.

2. Document rebuttal statement and evidence

Enter the claimant, recipient, or deemor’s rebuttal statement, including all of the information on the SSA-2574 about Checking or Savings Account, on the Person Remarks section for the relevant Financial Institution Account (RFIA) page.

Use the evidence screen to document other evidence showing removal of the claimant, recipient, deemor or co-owner's funds or name from the account.

3. Corroborating statement of co-owner

Enter the corroborating signed rebuttal statement of the co-owner on the DPST screen.

4. Correcting entries after rebuttal

a. Co-owner removes his or her share

If the claimant, recipient, or deemor successfully rebuts ownership of some of the funds and the co-owner removes his or her funds from the account, continue to show the total in the account in the ALLEGED/VERIFIED AMOUNT field until the month following the month the co-owner removes the funds. In the month following the month the co-owner removes the funds, exclude retroactively the co-owner’s share and change the CO-OWNED field to show the account is no longer co-owned and the new amount in the account.

Use “Other” as the exclusion reason, and add these remarks: “co-owner’s share successfully rebutted; funds do not belong to claimant, recipient, or deemor.”

Annotate the evidence screen with all the evidence the claimant, recipient or deemor submitted and your rebuttal determination.

b. Claimant, recipient, or deemor rebuts all ownership

If the claimant, recipient, or deemor successfully rebuts ownership of all of the funds, show the total in the account in the ALLEGED/VERIFIED AMOUNT field until the month following the month of the rebuttal.

In the month following the month the rebuttal is complete, exclude retroactively the total monthly balances and change the CO-OWNED field to show the account is no longer co-owned.

Add “Other” as the exclusion reason, and the following remarks in the documentation screen, “account successfully rebutted; funds do not belong to claimant, recipient, or deemor.”

Also, annotate the evidence screen to indicate the actions taken.

c. Claimant, recipient, or deemor opens new account

If the claimant, recipient, or deemor removes his or her funds from the account and opens a new account:

  • Show the total in the account in the ALLEGED/VERIFIED AMOUNT field until the month following the month that the claimant, recipient or deemor removes the funds.

  • In the month following the month the claimant, recipient or deemor removes the funds, exclude retroactively the co-owner’s share and change the CO-OWNED field to show the account is no longer co-owned.

  • Use “Other” as the exclusion reason, and add these remarks: “co-owner’s share successfully rebutted; funds do not belong to claimant, recipient, or deemor.”

  • Enter the claimant, recipient or deemor’s new account information on a new Financial Institution Account page.

  • Annotate the evidence screen to show the actions taken.

F. Examples of how to document co-owned bank accounts in MSSICS

1. Joint ownership for two or more SSI recipients

Two sisters, who currently live together and receive SSI, have a joint bank account. To document this case:

  • Indicate the bank account is co-owned in the Financial Institution Account page for each of the recipients’ records;

  • Post the total in the alleged or verified value field for each of the recipients; and

  • Exclude one half of the total balance in the excluded amount field for each of the recipients. Select “Co-ownership” as the exclusion reason.

2. Joint ownership for eligible and ineligible individuals

An eligible child, who lives with his parents, co-owns a checking account with his mother. To document this case:

  • Indicate the bank account is co-owned in the Financial Institution Account page for the eligible child and the mother;

  • In the eligible child’s Financial Institution Account page, enter the full account balances under the alleged or verified columns; and

  • In the mother’s Financial Institution Account page, enter zero as the alleged or verified values.

3. Joint ownership for eligible and ineligible individuals

An SSI recipient co-owns a Savings account with her roommate who does not receive SSI benefits. To document this account:

  • Indicate the bank account is co-owned in the Financial Institution Account page for the recipient, and

  • Enter the full account balances under the alleged or verified columns of the Financial Institution Account page.

4. SSI claimant rebuts ownership

An SSI claimant co-owns a bank account with her ineligible daughter. They opened the joint bank account in 03/08. In 01/09, the account balance was $2,200. When the claims representative informs the claimant that she is ineligible due to excess resources, the claimant wishes to rebut ownership assumption. She indicates that only $800 of the money in the account belongs to her. She also mentions that the account balance reflects her retroactive SSI check received in 03/08.

To process the rebuttal, take the following steps:

  1. Record the total $2,200 balance in the verified value field on the Financial Institution Account page.

  2. Exclude the retroactive SSI check received in 03/08, from the months of 03/08 through 12/08.

  3. Complete the Person Remarks section of the Financial Institution Account page with the claimant’s statement using the questions on the SSA-2574 as a guide.

  4. Complete a corroborating PERSON STATEMENT screen for the daughter to sign.

  5. List the new account on a new Financial Institution Account page and document the claimant’s new account balance, when you receive proof that the claimant removed her name from her daughter's account and that she opened a new account in her own name.

  6. Document the evidence screen with the evidence submitted and the rebuttal determination.

G. Exhibit of an SSA-2574 (Information about Joint Checking/Savings Accounts)

To view this form, go to SSA-2574.