TN 65 (08-11)

SI 01130.430 Household Goods, Personal Effects, and Other Personal Property

Citations:

20 CFR 416.1216

A. Background on resource exclusions for household goods and personal effects

A change in the regulations, effective March 9, 2005, establishes that the resource exclusion for household goods and personal effects no longer has a dollar limit. As a result, beginning with resource determinations for April 2005, SSA no longer counts household goods and personal effects as resources to decide a person’s eligibility to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

B. Procedure for resource exclusion for months beginning April 2005, or later

Exclude household goods and personal effects from resources, regardless of their dollar value.

C. Definition of household goods and personal effects (same before and after April 2005)

1. Household goods

Household goods are items of personal property, found in or near the home, the householder uses on a regular basis. The householder needs household goods for maintenance, use, and occupancy of the premises as a home.

a. Examples of household goods

  • Furniture;

  • Appliances;

  • Electronic equipment, for instance computers and televisions;

  • Carpets;

  • Cooking and eating utensils; and,

  • Dishes.

b. Items held because of their value or as an investment

Items that an individual acquires or holds because of their value or investment are not household goods, even if they otherwise meet the definition of household goods in SI 01130.430C.1.

2. Personal effects

Personal effects are items of personal property ordinarily worn or carried by the individual, or items that have an intimate relation to the individual.

a. Examples of personal effects

Personal effects may consist of the following:

  • Personal jewelry, including wedding and engagement rings;

  • Personal care items and clothing;

  • Pets, such as a cat, dog, hamster, horse, monkey, or snake;

  • Educational or recreational items, such as books, musical instruments, or hobby materials; or

  • Items of cultural or religious significance to an individual, such as ceremonial attire.

b. Items required because of an individual’s physical or mental impairment

Items required because of an individual's physical or mental impairment, such as prosthetic devices or wheelchairs, are also personal effects.

c. Items held because of their value or investment

Items that an individual acquires or holds because of their value, or as an investment, are not personal effects; even if they otherwise meet the definition of personal effects in SI 01130.430C.2.

D. Policy for other personal property

1. Other personal property may be a countable resource

Property that an individual acquires or holds because of its value or as an investment:

  • Is a countable resource (unless excluded under a different provision); and

  • Is not considered a household good or personal effect for the purposes of this exclusion.

2. Examples of other personal property

  • Gems;

  • Jewelry that one does not wear or does not hold for family significance;

  • Animals for investment purposes, such as a horse or dog for breeding, for resale, or investment; and

  • Collectibles.

3. Example of personal effects or other personal property

Mrs. Willis received $10,000 from an insurance settlement. The claims representative (CR) later develops how she spent the $10,000.

Mrs. Willis paid back creditors with $7,000, and purchased $3,000 in jewelry that she ordinarily wears.

Because Mrs. Willis wears the jewelry, the CR must determine if SSA can exclude the jewelry from resources as personal effects or a countable resource, in the form of other personal property.

Mrs. Willis’s statements establish that the jewelry has no family significance and that she purchased the jewelry for its value, as a means to spend down the $10,000.

The CR correctly determines that the jewelry is not an excludable personal effect because an item purchased for its value cannot be a personal effect. The CR also correctly determines to consider the jewelry as “other personal property” and evaluates it using normal resource counting rules.

E. Developing other personal property that is not excluded

If the individual alleges ownership of other personal property that is not excludable as household goods or personal effects, use the following procedure.

1. Verify the current market value (CMV)

Verify the CMV of the item(s) using any reliable evidence the individual may have in their possession.

Acceptable evidence could include a recent sales slip, an appraisal of the item(s), or insurance coverage. If this information is not available, obtain an estimate from a knowledgeable source, such as a local merchant (for more information on the procedures to use when purchasing evidence, see GN 00301.210).

NOTE: Insurance appraisals and amounts of insurance coverage often reflect replacement value (the amount it would cost to purchase a similar item new), rather than CMV. Do not use replacement value in lieu of CMV.

2. Determine the equity value

If the individual (or deemor) alleges that there is an encumbrance on any item, determine the equity value to determine the amount of countable resources (for more information on determining equity values, see SI 01140.042).

REMINDER: If the individual has excess resources, conditional benefits may apply. Discuss and document the file with the individual's decision about conditional benefits (for more information on explaining conditional benefits, see SI 01150.203).

F. Procedure for initial claims for months beginning April 2005, or later

Absent evidence to the contrary, exclude all household goods and personal effects an individual, or couple (or deemor) owns under this provision.

1. MSSICS case

Take the following actions on MSSICS cases:

a. Household goods and personal effects

No development of household goods and personal effects is necessary.

b. Other personal property

Document other personal property by completing the Resource Selection page prompt, Items Held for Potential Value or Investment, with a “Yes” or “No”, then on the Items Held for Potential Value or Investment (RHPI) page, list item and CMV, as appropriate, for both the applicant and any deemors associated with the claim (for more information on other personal property, see SI 01130.430D in this section).

2. Non-MSSICS case

For non-MSSICS cases, take the following actions:

a. Question 42(a) on the SSA-8000-BK

  • If the individual answers either of the questions yes, complete (b).

  • Use the Remarks portion of the SSA-8000-BK to document household goods and personal effects for months before April 2005.

b. Question 9(a) on the SSA-8010-BK

Use the Remarks section to document deemor’s household goods and personal effects for months before April 2005.

G. Procedure for redeterminations for months beginning April 2005, or later

Absent evidence to the contrary, exclude all household goods and personal effects an individual or couple (or deemor) owns under this provision.

1. MSSICS case

For MSSICS cases, take the following actions:

a. Household goods and personal effects

No development of household goods and personal effects is necessary.

b. Other personal property

Document other personal property by completing the Resource Selection page prompt, Items Held for Potential Value or Investment, with a “Yes” or “No”, then on the Item Held for Potential Value or Investment (RHPI) page, enter item and CMV, as appropriate, for both the applicant and any deemors associated with the claim (for a more complete explanation of other personal property, see SI 01130.430D in this section).

c. Household goods and personal effects previously recorded in MSSICS

To prevent double counting of household goods and personal effects in the resource determination when you previously recorded them during the review period of the Other Resource (ROTH) page, take the following action:

  • Put an end date of 03/05 on the applicable Other Resource page.

  • Document on the Item Held for Potential Value or Investment page only other personal property that is countable under the new rules per SI 01130.430D in this section.

2. Non-MSSICS case

Until we update the paper applications to revise the household goods and personal effects questions, take the following actions on the claim:

a. Question 20 (a) on the SSA-8203-BK

  • Cross out "Other household or personal items not already mentioned worth more than $500" (for a more complete description, see GN 00205.015).

  • Use the Remarks section to document household goods and personal effects for months before April 2005.

  • Use the Remarks section to document any countable personal property, per SI 01130.430D in this section.

b. Question 9 (a) on the SSA-8010-BK

Use the Remarks section to document deemor’s household goods and personal effects for months before April 2005.

H. Definitions for months before April 2005

1. Items of unusual value

An item of unusual value is one whose CMV exceeds $500.

2. Durable items

a. Durable items include

  • Furniture;

  • Major appliances;

  • Expensive carpets and jewelry; and

  • Other items that retain a significant resale value over time.

b. Durable items do not include

  • Anything treated as an item of unusual value;

  • Ordinary cooking and eating utensils;

  • Small appliances;

  • Linens;

  • Clothing; or

  • Household furnishings of little value.

I. Procedure for resource exclusion for months prior to April 2005

1. Items to exclude regardless of value

a. Wedding ring and engagement ring

Exclude one wedding ring and one engagement ring per individual, regardless of value.

b. Items a person’s physical condition may require

  • Prosthetic devices;

  • Wheelchairs;

  • Hospital beds;

  • Dialysis machines; and

  • Other items required by a person's physical condition, regardless of value, if other members of the household do not primarily use them extensively.

2. Exclusion of up to $2,000 equity of other items

A general exclusion of up to $2,000 applies to the total equity value of household goods and personal effects, other than those excluded, regardless of value. Do not exclude any portion of the total equity in excess of $2,000 under this provision.

J. Procedure for months prior to April 2005

1. Wedding rings and engagement rings

If an individual alleges only one wedding or engagement ring, exclude it without further development. Treat additional such rings in accordance with the instructions in the following chart.

2. Allegation of no items of unusual value, or of an item with a CMV of $1,000 or less

Accept the allegation, absent evidence to the contrary. Assume that the total equity value of all household goods and personal effects is $2,000 or less. No further development required.

3. Allegation of items of unusual value whose total CMV exceeds $1,000

Develop and document items of unusual value as follows:

Step

Action

1.

Ask the individual if he or she requires the item(s) of unusual value because of his or her physical condition.

If no, record the individual's response in the Remarks section of the application, and go to Step 3.

If yes, record the item(s) in the Remarks section or on an SSA-795 with the following information, and go to Step 2:

  • what the condition is;

  • why the individual requires the item for that condition (unless the reason is obvious);

  • the extent that the individual uses the item; and

  • the extent that any other member of the household uses the item.

2.

Determine if you can exclude any of the items. See SI 01130.430I in this section.

Does the alleged total CMV of the remaining items of unusual value exceed $1,000?

  • If no, discontinue development.

  • If yes, go to Step 3.

3.

Record the individual's allegation of all durable items and the estimated value of each in the Remarks section or on an SSA-795.

Does the sum of their alleged value and the alleged value of the non-excluded items of unusual value exceed $2,000?

  • If no, discontinue development.

  • If yes, go to Step 4.

4.

Verify the CMV of any item of unusual value not excluded, per SI 01130.430I in this section. Use any reliable evidence of CMV the individual submits, such as a recent sales slip or appraisal, or insurance coverage, or an estimate obtained from a knowledgeable source, such as a local merchant.

NOTE: Insurance appraisals and amounts of insurance coverage often reflect replacement value (the amount it would cost to purchase a similar item new) rather than CMV. Do not use replacement value in lieu of CMV.

Does the verified CMV of all non-excluded items of unusual value and the alleged CMV of all durable items total $2,000 or less?

  • If yes, discontinue development.

  • If no, go to Step 5.

5.

Determine if you can exclude any of the durable items (i.e., items that are not of unusual value). See SI 01130.430I in this section.

Does the verified CMV of all non-excluded items of unusual value and the alleged CMV of the remaining durable items total $2,000 or less?

  • If yes, discontinue development.

  • If no, go to Step 6.

6.

Verify the CMV of the non-excluded durable items.

Is the verified total CMV of all non-excluded items of unusual value and non-excluded durable items $2,000 or less?

  • If yes, discontinue development.

  • If no, go to Step 7.

7.

If the portion of the total CMV that exceeds $2,000 affects the individual's eligibility, determine the equity value of any item with an alleged encumbrance. Under this provision, SSA cannot exclude any of the value in excess of $2000.00.

If the individual has excess resources and conditional benefits may apply, discuss and document the file with the individual's decision about conditional benefits. (See SI 01150.203, Explaining Conditional Benefits).

K. References

  • GN 00205.015, Handling Changes and Additions on Applications

  • GN 00310.210, SSA Purchase of Evidence

  • GN 00301.286, Electronic Evidence Documentation and Retention

  • SI 01110.400, What Values Apply to Resources

  • SI 00870.001, Plans to Achieve Self Support – Overview

  • SI 01130.500, Property Essential for Self Support – Overview

  • SI 01140.042, Determining Equity Value

  • SI 01150.203, Explaining Conditional Benefits

  • MSOM INTRANETSSI 013.024, Item Held for Potential Value or Investment

  • MSOM INTRANETSSI 013.032, Other Resource


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501130430
SI 01130.430 - Household Goods, Personal Effects, and Other Personal Property - 12/13/2013
Batch run: 12/13/2013
Rev:12/13/2013