SI ATL01140.215 Conservatorship Accounts (BASIC, 09/2017)

See SI 01140.215

A. State laws pertaining to conservatorship or blocked accounts

A “conservatorship account” (sometimes referred to as a “blocked account”) is a financial account in which a court appointed a person or institution to manage and preserve the assets of an individual (i.e., a claimant, recipient, or other person whose resources are deemable to the claimant or recipient) that are held in the account. The Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes, absent evidence to the contrary, that funds in a conservatorship account are available for the individual’s support and maintenance if state law requires that funds in a conservatorship account be made available for the care and maintenance of an individual.

In the Atlanta Region, not all states have laws that specifically discuss conservatorship accounts. However, each state does allow for the appointment of persons similar to conservators and the creation of financial accounts similar to conservatorship accounts.

Below is the list of Atlanta Region State laws on the use of funds for support and maintenance in a conservatorship/blocked account.

1. Alabama

Under Alabama law, a conservator may expend or distribute income or principal of the estate without court authorization or confirmation for the health, support, education, or maintenance of the protected person and dependents. In addition, a conservator must expend or distribute sums reasonably necessary depending on the specific circumstances of the protected person, including the protected person’s accustomed standard of living.

Thus, based on Alabama law, SSA may assume that funds in the conservatorship can be made available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient and are a countable resource.

2. Florida

Based on Florida law, do not assume the funds are available for support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient. Review the court order/initial plan to determine the scope of authority granted by the court. The review should determine if the funds in conservatorship account is available for support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient, and is a countable resource.

3. Georgia

Based on Georgia law, assume that the funds in the conservatorship can be made available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient and is a countable resource. However, obtain the court order granting the conservatorship to check for any restrictions on the disbursement of the assets of the minor or ward.

4. Kentucky

Based on Kentucky law, assume that the funds in a conservatorship account can be made available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient and is a countable resource. However, obtain the court order granting the conservatorship to check for any restrictions on the disbursement of the assets of the minor or ward.

5. Mississippi

Based on Mississippi law, do not assume the funds in a conservatorship account are available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient. Review the court order establishing the conservatorship and any subsequent court orders concerning the authority of the conservator to use the funds of the SSI claimant or recipient. The review should determine if the funds in conservatorship account is available for support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient, and is a countable resource.

6. North Carolina

Based on North Carolina law, assume that funds under conservatorship are available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient, and is a countable resource.

7. South Carolina

Currently in South Carolina, a guardian/conservator may expend or distribute sums from the principal of an estate without court authorization or confirmation for the support, education, care, or benefit of the protected person and his dependents.

Beginning January 1, 2019, a guardian serving as a fiduciary, is obligated to apply the money for the benefit of the minor/incapacitated person, but the court must explicitly set forth the rights and powers vested in the conservator.

Thus, based on South Carolina law, through December 2018, assume that the funds in a conservatorship account can be made available for the support and maintenance of the SSI claimant or recipient and is a resource. Beginning in January 2019, obtain the court order granting the conservatorship to check for any restrictions on the disbursement of the assets to the claimant or recipient.

8. Tennessee

Based