TN 14 (02-10)

SI 01150.201 Conditional Benefits Payments

A. Policy for duration of period

1. Disposal and exclusion period

a. Beginning date

The disposal period and exclusion period for excess nonliquid resources begins:

  • after the adjudicator determines that the individual meets all nonresource eligibility requirements (including a final disability or blindness decision, or presumptive decision, if applicable); and

    NOTE: A Disability Determination Service (DDS) early alert to a Field Office (FO) for a proposed finding of disability is not sufficient. Do not defer development of potential conditional benefits cases.

  • on the date SSA “accepts” the individual's signed written agreement, i.e., Form SSA-8060-U3 (Agreement to Sell Property). Acceptance of the agreement occurs on the date the individual receives written notice that the agreement is in effect. Written notice is sent once all nonresource eligibility requirements are met. (For Notice Language, see SI 01150.210B.2.).

    NOTE: The date of acceptance is 5 days from the date on the notice unless the individual can prove otherwise. If the written notice is handed to the individual, the date of acceptance is that date.

b. Basic periods

The basic periods for the disposal of excess nonliquid resources are:

  • 9 months for real property;

  • 3 months for personal property.

c. Ending date

The disposal and exclusion period ends at the earliest of the following:

  • sale of the property;

  • the month after the month continued reasonable efforts to sell end, (absent good cause);

  • the individual's submission of a written request for cancellation;

  • countable resources, even without the conditional exclusion, fall within the applicable limit (e.g., the individual depletes liquid resources); or

  • the individual has received a full period of conditional benefits including any allowable extension.

2. Extension for good cause

We permit one 3-month extension for disposition of personal property for good cause. A more complete explanation of good cause is at SI 01150.201B.4.

3. Payment period

We pay conditional benefits only for full calendar months. Thus:

  • the first month of a payment period depends on whether it is a new application or a postentitlement action. For a new application the first month of payment is the second month after the month in which the disposal or exclusion period begins. This is because we do not pay benefits in the E02 month, which is the month of effective filing. To review the month of effective filing, see SI 00601.009. For postentitlement cases, the first month of payment is the month following the beginning of the disposal and exclusion period; and

  • the last month of a payment period is the month in which the disposal and exclusion period ends.

EXAMPLE 1: Mr. Jones, an SSI recipient, inherits a speedboat from his Uncle George. Mr. Jones’ disposal and exclusion period for his recreational boat begins on May 12 when Mr. Jones receives written notice that his agreement to sell is in effect. He sells the boat on July 20, which ends the disposal and exclusion period. He is eligible for conditional benefits for June and July, the 2 full months whose first moments fall within the disposal and exclusion period. If no sale occurred, the basic period ends on August 11, and he receives conditional benefits for the 3 months of June, July, and August assuming no extension of the disposal and exclusion period for good cause was granted.

EXAMPLE 2: On December 12, Mr. Wright, an aged applicant, files for SSI benefits. During the interview he states that the only property he owns, other than his house, is a vacant lot located 80 miles away that he inherited years ago. Mr. Wright states that he would really like to sell the vacant lot and asks if there is a way he could receive SSI until he does. The Claims Representative (CR) determines that Mr. Wright meets all other entitlement factors except, that the vacant lot puts him above the resource limit, and the CR explains all the conditions for receiving conditional benefit payments. Mr. Wright recognizes this as an opportunity to sell the lot and receive SSI until the sale is complete. On December 18, he signs the SSA-8060 U3 (Agreement to Sell Property) in the Social Security Office. The CR tells him he is eligible beginning January 1, but will not receive his first payment until February 1 because the E02 month applies. Mr. Wright has 9 months after the beginning of the disposal and exclusion period to sell his excess property. Therefore, he must sell the property by September.

4. Interruptions in the conditional benefits period

a. Suspensions

If we suspend an individual's eligibility during a conditional benefits period, the months of suspension do not count toward the applicable time limit.

Upon reinstatement, the individual must resume reasonable efforts to sell the excess nonliquid resources within 1 week or lose the conditional exclusion.

b. Terminations

An individual who reapplies for benefits after termination of prior eligibility may be subject to a new conditional benefits period if there are still excess resources.

For additional information regarding suspensions, and terminations, see SI 02301.001.

B. Policy related to reasonable efforts to sell or buy

1. Reasonable efforts to sell excess nonliquid property

The individual must make reasonable efforts to sell excess nonliquid property by taking all necessary steps to sell it through media serving the geographic area in which the person lives or, if different, where the property is located.

2. Reasonable efforts to sell real property

  1. a. 

    Within 30 days of signing a conditional benefits agreement, the owner must:

    • list the property with an agent; or

    • begin to advertise in at least one of the appropriate media; place a “For Sale” sign on the property (if permitted); begin to conduct open houses or otherwise show the property to interested parties on a continuing basis; or attempt any other appropriate methods of sale such as posting notices on community bulletin boards, distributing fliers, etc.

      NOTE: Reasonable efforts must be evaluated in consideration of the individual's circumstances and is not restricted to “traditional” sales methods such as engaging a real estate agent.

  2. b. 

    Except for gaps of no more than 1 week, the owner must maintain efforts of the type listed in SI 01150.201B.2.a (in this section); and

  3. c. 

    The owner must not reject any reasonable offer to buy the property and bears the burden of demonstrating to SSA's satisfaction that he or she rejected an offer because it was not reasonable.

3. Reasonable offer to buy real property

We assume that an offer to buy real property is reasonable if it is at least two-thirds of the estimated CMV unless the owner proves otherwise.

4. Good cause

a. Definition

Good cause exists when circumstances beyond an individual's control prevent his or her taking the required actions to accomplish reasonable efforts to sell.

b. Significance of good cause

  • Without good cause, failure to meet the criteria outlined in SI 01150.201B.1. or SI 01150.201B.2. (in this section), as applicable, means the individual is not making reasonable efforts to sell the property. Therefore, his or her countable resources include the value of the excess property retroactive to the beginning of the conditional benefits period and he or she owes the resultant overpayment.

  • With good cause, failure to meet the criteria means that the conditional benefits period continues to run its term.

C. Examples of good cause

1. No offer to buy

The individual makes good faith efforts to sell excess nonliquid resources throughout the disposal period (or is prevented from doing so by circumstances beyond his or her control) but receives no offer to buy them.

2. Reliance on an offer that does not result in a sale

A legitimate or apparently legitimate offer to buy an excess nonliquid resource halts further efforts to sell it for a prolonged period of time, and the prospective buyer subsequently cannot or will not complete the purchase.

3. Escrow begins but closing does not take place within disposal period

The individual accepts an offer to buy real property, and escrow begins, which precludes acceptance of another offer. Closing (at which full or partial payment and transfer of title are exchanged) does not take place within the disposal period.

4. Incapacitating illness or injury

The individual becomes homebound or hospitalized for a prolonged period, due to illness or injury, and cannot take the steps necessary to sell the resource or to arrange for someone to sell it on his or her behalf.

5. Part-owner dies

A part-owner of a resource dies, and administration or probate of the estate delays efforts to sell the resource (assuming that the property continues to be a resource).

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SI 01150.201 - Conditional Benefits Payments - 10/17/1994
Batch run: 02/17/2010