TN 32 (07-90)

SI 01110.100 Distinction Between Assets and Resources

A. Introduction

Not all of an individual's assets are resources for SSI purposes. Moreover, in certain situations, an asset that is not a resource may become one at a later date or vice versa. The distinction is important since:

  • an asset that is not a resource does not count against the statutory resource limit (while a resource may count); and

  • proceeds from the sale or trade of a resource (i.e., the amount representing conversion of principal from one form to another) are also resources but what a person receives from a nonresource is subject to evaluation as income at the time of receipt.

    EXAMPLE: An individual is the beneficiary of a trust which is not his resource. Therefore, when the trust pays him his monthly allowance,he receives income.

B. Policy Principles

1. RESOURCES DEFINED

Resources are cash and any other personal property, as well as any real property,that an individual (or spouse, if any):

  • owns;

  • has the right, authority, or power to convert to cash (if not already cash); and

  • is not legally restricted from using for his/her support and maintenance.

2. RESOURCES WITH ZERO VALUE

Property does not cease to be a resource simply because it has no current market value. Even though there is no value to count, the property remains a resource for so long as it meets the criteria in 1. above. If the property develops a market value at a later time, there has been an increase in the value of a resource (SI 01110.600 B.1.) rather than a receipt of income.

3. PROPERTY THAT IS NOT A RESOURCE

Any property (an asset) that does not meet the criteria in 1. above is not a resource even though it may be an asset (e.g., an individual who has an ownership interest in property but is not legally able to transfer that interest to anyone else does not have a resource).

C. Definitions

1. REAL PROPERTY

Real property is land, including buildings or immovable objects attached permanently to the land.

2. PERSONAL PROPERTY

Personal property is any property that is not real property. The term encompasses such things as cash, jewelry, household goods, tools, life insurance policies,and automobiles.

D. Related Policies

1. CONSERVED FUNDS IN CHANGE- OF-PAYEE SITUATIONS

Conserved funds (or other property) remain resources even during a period when they are being held in a bank account or by the paying agency because it is necessary to obtain a new payee or guardian. See SI 01120.022.

2. VALIDITY OF TRANSFERS

An invalidly transferred resource remains a resource to the “former” owner and, as such, is subject to being counted. For development of validity of ownership transfers, see SI 01150.001.

3. LIQUID VS. NONLIQUID RESOURCES

Except for cash, any kind of real or personal property may be either liquid or nonliquid. For the distinction between liquid and nonliquid resources, and its significance, see SI 01110.300.

4. EVALUATION OF RECEIPT OF PROPERTY AS INCOME

When an individual first receives property (as a gift or inheritance, for instance, but not as a purchase or trade of one resource for another), the new property is subject to evaluation under the income rules for the month of receipt and under the resources rules thereafter. See SI 01110.600 B.3.

5. DISCOVERY OF UNKNOWN ASSETS

For the resources treatment of previously unknown assets, see SI 01110.117.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501110100
SI 01110.100 - Distinction Between Assets and Resources - 01/21/1993