In Wisconsin, a spouse has an ownership interest in the home held solely in the name
of the other spouse. If one spouse, who holds title in their name only, wishes to
convey a clear title (i.e., sell or transfer the home) to someone other than the spouse,
the other spouse would have to join in the conveyance, either directly or by other
written consent. The same is true if the married couple held the home property by
Note that this restriction applies only to home property. A home, for the purposes
of this restriction, is any shelter in which the individual or spouse has ownership
interest and which is used by the individual or spouse as their principal place of
residence, not to exceed 40 acres.
In cases where this restriction is found to apply and the value of the property causes
the claimant to exceed the resource limit, obtain a SSA-795 from the spouse regarding
Example A: Before their separation, Mr. and Mrs. Madison lived in a home in Wisconsin, which
Mrs. Madison had inherited from her parents. The house is in Mrs. Madison's name only.
Mrs. Madison is the sole titleholder.
Two years ago, Mrs. Madison left her husband. Mr. Madison continued to live in the
house. This year Mr. Madison began receiving SSI. Mr. Madison does not hold title
to the house and does not have the right to sell the house. The house, therefore,
is not Mr. Madison's resource. Yet, Mr. Madison does have an ownership interest by
virtue of the fact that Mrs. Madison is restricted from selling the property without
Mr.Madison's joint conveyance. So, although Mr. Madison pays no rent and is not charged
with support and maintenance for rent-free shelter because Mr. Madison has an ownership
interest (SI 00830.600).
Mrs. Madison, now living in Chicago, applies for SSI presenting a copy of the deed,
which shows Mrs. Madison is the sole owner of her former Wisconsin home. The deed
contains no written restrictions against the sale of the property. However, Mrs. Madison
also states that Mr. Madison is still living there and they have never been divorced.
The sale of the property, therefore, is restricted by the need for Mr. Madison's joint
conveyance or written consent to the sale. The FO must then contact Mr. Madison and
obtain a signed SSA-795 statement as to whether Mr. Madison would cooperate in the
sale. If cooperation can be obtained, Mrs. Madison can sell the property and it is
a countable resource and its value must be determined.
Example B: Mr. and Mrs. Madison have switched places.
Mrs. Madison, the titleholder, is now living on her Wisconsin property. Since Mrs.
Madison has home ownership, she is in an “A” living arrangement. Because the property is now Mrs. Madison's home, it is automatically
excludable. There is no need to discuss the sale of the property.
Mr. Madison is now living in Chicago; does not hold title to the Wisconsin property;
and unquestionably cannot sell it. It is not Mr. Madison's resource. Its value does
not count towards Mr. Madison's resource limitation. There is no need to discuss the
sale of the property.
Example C: In this example, Mr. and Mrs. Madison own the property jointly. Mrs. Madison lives
on the property. Mr. Madison lives in Detroit. When Mr. Madison applies for SSI, Mr.
Madison tells the FO that the Wisconsin property is owned jointly with Mrs. Madison
(separated spouse) who lives on the property. The value of Mr. Madison's interest
in the property could cause Mr. Madison to exceed the resource limit.
Under Wisconsin State law, Mr. Madison is free to convey his interest in the property
to Mrs. Madison. Mr. Madison is not free to otherwise dispose of his interest without
Mrs. Madison either joining in the conveyance or giving consent. The FO must contact
Mrs. Madison and obtain a signed SSA-795 statement answering two questions: 1) Would
Mrs. Madison consent to the sale of Mr. Madison's interest in the property to another
party? 2) If Mrs. Madison would not giver her consent, would Mrs. Madison, if Mr. Madison made an offer, purchase Mr. Madison's interest in the property for its going value? Be sure to
annotate the SSA-795: THIS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL; A “YES” RESPONSE, THEREFORE, DOES NOT
CONSTITUTE ACCEPTANCE OF AN OFFER.
A “Yes” response to either question means that Mr. Madison's interest in the property is
saleable and therefore, a countable resource. If both are answered negatively, Mr.
Madison cannot sell his interest in the property. Therefore, it would not be a countable
resource to Mr. Madison.
NOTE: There may be restrictions in addition to those listed above. If you become aware
of other restrictions or encounter questionable cases, submit them to ARC-MOS CRSI/SSI.