SNAP Asset Guidelines

 

 

SNAP ASSET GUIDELINES

 

Household

Limits

Categorically Eligible Households

No Limit

 

Non-categorically Eligible Households

Non-SSI HH member is elderly (age 60 or older) and gross income is over the 200% limit

$3,500

All other non-categorically eligible households

$2,250

 

Countable Assets

 

Cash

Currency, checks, or bank drafts in the possession of, or available to, the household.

 

Verification

A self-declaration of the amount available to the household is acceptable.

 

Bank Deposits

Bank deposits are deposits in a bank, savings and loan institution, credit union, or other financial institution. Bank deposits may be in the form of:

  • savings;

  • checking;

  • trust accounts;

  • term certificates; or

  • other types of accounts, such as vacation clubs and Christmas clubs.

 

Funds in a bank account are considered available only to the extent that the household has both ownership of and access to the funds.

 

Joint Accounts

If a household member is a co-holder, the entire amount on deposit must be considered available as an asset, unless the applicant or client demonstrates otherwise.

A household member who states that s/he is not the owner, or is only partial owner, must demonstrate the ownership of the funds.  A household member who states that s/he has no access, or only partial access to the funds, must demonstrate such lack of access.

 

Verification of Bank Deposits and Joint Accounts

The verification of bank deposits and joint accounts must be within 45 days of the application, recertification, or reported change date.  Acceptable verifications include but are not limited to:

  • checking account statements;

  • savings account statements; or

  • bank books.

 

Securities

Securities such as:

  • stocks;

  • bonds;

  • options;

  • futures;

  • contracts;

  • debentures;

  • mutual and money market fund shares;

  • government, bank, corporate or promissory notes; and

  • other financial instruments.

 

Tradable securities are valued at the most recent closing bid price, and non-tradable securities are valued at current equity value.  A security for which there is no market or which is inaccessible is non-countable.

 

Verification of Securities

The number of securities owned must be substantiated by the written statement of the household.  Any one of the following will be sufficient verification of the current value of the security:

  • A statement from the individual, corporation, licensed stockbroker, bank, or government agency that issued the security;

  • A clipping from a current daily newspaper showing the date and closing bid price;

  • A statement from any bank or other financial services institution able to verify the current value of a particular security; or

  • Any documentation from a current financial publication.  A claim that a particular security has no market value must be verified by one of the verifications listed above.

 

A claim that a particular security is inaccessible must be verified by:

  • a copy of the original legal instrument that established the inaccessibility; or

  • relevant legal or financial statements that document the inaccessibility of the security, if the original legal instrument is not available.

 

Nonrecurring Lump Sum Income

Nonrecurring lump sum payments include, but are not limited to:

  • income tax refunds;

  • rebates or credits;

  • retroactive lump sum Social Security benefits, public assistance benefits, and railroad retirement benefits;

  • lump sum insurance settlements; and

  • refunds of security deposits on rental property or utilities.

 

These payments must be counted as an asset in the month received, unless exempt. When a lump sum payment puts a household’s total assets over the asset limit, you must allow the household to update its entire asset statement.  If the household fails to update the asset information, terminate the case.

 

Verification of Nonrecurring Lump Sum Income

Lump sum payments must be verified by one of the following:

  • a copy of the benefit or award letter;

  • a copy of the check or payment document; or

  • a written statement from the agency or person making the payment.

 

Real estate, land or buildings (other than principal home and lot)

The equity value of all land or buildings that is not exempt must be counted in the determination of the household’s eligibility.  Equity value is the fair market value less encumbrances.

 

Verification

The fair market value and equity value of all countable land and buildings must be verified.  Fair market value will be verified by a copy of the most recent tax bill or recent property tax assessment, provided the assessment is not:

  • a special purpose assessment based on a fixed rate per acre method; or

  • based on an assessment ratio or providing only a range.

 

If a current property tax assessment is not available or the household wishes to rebut the fair market value, a comparable market analysis or written appraisal of the value of the land or buildings from a knowledgeable source will establish the fair market value.  A knowledgeable source is:

  • a licensed real estate agent or broker;

    • a real estate appraiser

    • a bank

  • a savings and loan association, or similar organization; or

  • an official of the local real property tax jurisdiction.

 

The household must be notified in writing via the SNAPNL-2 of procedures to rebut the Department’s fair market value determination.

  • If the lender is an organization, the verification of encumbrances on the land or buildings will be by copies of loan instruments or other documents which evidence the outstanding balance of the loan.

  • If the lender is an individual, the amount of the encumbrance will be verified either by a copy of the loan instrument and a signed statement from the lender setting forth the payment schedule and outstanding balance of the loan, or documents which evidence the outstanding balance of the loan.

Verification of Ownership

Lack of access to and ownership of the funds can be demonstrated by the household member’s having his/her name removed from the account.  If the household member cannot remove or chooses not to remove his or her name from the account, then lack of either access or ownership must be verified.

 

Prior to determining lack of ownership, there must be a determination of whether the household member has access to the account.  If lack of access is demonstrated, the funds are not available.  If the verification submitted does not demonstrate lack of access, you must proceed to determine ownership.

 

Verification that the household member lacks ownership of, or has only partial ownership of, the funds in the account can be demonstrated by at least two (2) of the following:

  • documents showing the origin of the funds, who opened the account, or whose money was used to open the account;

  • documentation through federal or state tax records as to which of the joint account holders declares the tax on the interest credited to the account as income;

  • records of who makes deposits and withdrawals and, if appropriate, of how withdrawn funds are spent;

  • any reasonable evidence of written or oral agreements made between the parties listed on the account or by someone who established or contributed to the account, with respect to the ownership of the funds in the account;

  • when the household member states that (s)he does not own the account but is listed as a co-holder solely as a convenience to the other co-holder to conduct bank transactions on his or her behalf, evidence of the age, relationship, physical or mental condition, or place of residence of the co-holder must be provided;

  • evidence as to why the household member is listed on the account;

  • a signed, notarized statement from the household member stating that the applicant or client had no knowledge of the existence of the account; or

  • If only one of the above is available and if the other individual(s) listed on the account is unavailable or is unable or unwilling to provide a statement, the second proof may be a signed statement from the applicant or client attesting under penalties of perjury as to the ownership of funds in the account.  A document or piece of evidence submitted to verify a particular fact will not count as more than one verification under the above subsections. However, a document, piece of evidence or a statement may address more than one fact needed for verification. If a household member would be required to pay to obtain documents or other verification and no other method of verification is available, the Department, if it determines the document is necessary, must obtain the documents.

Non-countable Assets

 

  • Principal place of residence (home and lot);

  • Household belongings i.e. furniture, appliances;

  • Home grown produce;

  • Property to which the household has no ready access;

  • Irrevocable trust funds placed in trust at 12 months prior to application;

  • One burial plot and the value of a prepaid funeral arrangement for each member of HH;

  • Cash surrender value of life insurance policies (un-cashed);

  • Vehicles;

  • Property essential to employment or self-employment i.e. convenience store, farm, vacation home;

  • Inaccessible and Non-assistance household members’ assets Educational loans, grants, scholarships not designated for living expenses;

  • Student financial assistance provided under Title IV;

  • Disaster payments from Federal Emergency Management Agency, Individual Family Grant, Housing and Urban Development and Small Business Association;

  • Assets prorated as income;

  • Lands held in trust for Native Americans;

  • Jointly owned assets shall be considered inaccessible to persons residing in domestic violence shelters;

  • Pension and retirement funds (See: Non-countable Assets Retirement Plans Job Aid):

    • 408s, 408As, or any tax qualified retirement account that meet the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986

    • Traditional Defined Benefit Plan

    • Cash Balance Plan

    • Employee Stock Ownership Plan

    • Keogh Plan

    • Money Purchase Pension Plan

    • Profit-Sharing Plans

    • 401(k), 403(a), 403(b)

    • IRA

    • Simple Retirement account IRA

    • Simplified Employee Pension Plan

    • Roth IRA

    • Qualified tuition programs as described in 529 and 530 of the Internal Revenue Code and Coverdell education savings accounts

    • Eligible 457(b) Plan, 501(c)18 Plan

    • Federal Thrift Savings Plan

Assets Exempt By Law

Certain assets are non-countable for SNAP purposes by a specific provision in federal law. The following is a listing of some of the assets excluded by federal law:

 

  • Coupons under a WIC Demonstration Project that can be exchanged for food at farmers’ markets;

  • Highway Relocation assistance payments, Urban Renewal Assistance payments, disaster relief payments used for relocation, and payments from private agencies used for relocation;

  • State and federal earned income credits (EIC), whether received as an advance payment or as part or all of an income tax refund, in the month of receipt and the following month.  The amount of state and federal tax refunds are noncountable for 12 months after receipt;

  • Payments or allowances made to or on behalf of a household for energy assistance under any federal, state, or local law.  These payments or allowances must be clearly identified as energy assistance by the legislative body authorizing the program or providing the funds;

  • Non-liquid assets against which a lien has been placed as a result of taking out a business loan if the household is prohibited by the security or lien agreement with the lien holder (creditor) from selling the assets;

  • Payments to eligible individuals of Japanese ancestry or their survivors under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and payments for eligible Aleuts (who were former residents of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands) or their survivors under the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands Restitution Act, Public Law 100-383;

  • Agent Orange Settlement Fund payments made to Vietnam veterans or their survivors, in accordance with Public Law 101-201, effective January 1, 1989;

  • Payments to individuals because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution in accordance with Public Law 103-286;

  • The value of assistance to children under the National School Lunch Act or the Child Nutrition Act;

  • Crime victim compensation payments under the Crime Act of 1984;

  • Payments (from $200-$1200 per month) to the child of a Vietnam veteran disabled in any way by spina bifida; or

  • Payments made under P.L. 101-426, Section 6(h)(2), the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

Assets of Certain Household Members

The assets of SSI and /or TAFDC household members if the household members receive benefits under one or more of the following titles of the Social Security Act:

 

·     Title XVI (SSI);

·     Titles I, X, or XIV for the aged, blind, or disabled; or

·     Title IV-A (TANF).

 

The assets of individuals for whom state and/or federal foster-care maintenance payments are made, including the child of the foster child when the foster-care maintenance payment includes the child for whom state and/or federal adoption assistance is provided.

 

TAFDC/FEP-Individual Asset Account

Funds maintained in an Individual Asset Account (IAA) as part of the TAFDC Full Employment Program (FEP) must be excluded until receipt of such funds by the individual upon termination of FEP employment.  Funds received from the IAA upon termination of FEP employment are countable.

 

Reimbursements

Any portion of a Workers’ Compensation, property damage, personal injury, Compensation to Victims of Violent Crimes Act, death settlement or award, except for compensation for lost wages, received as a reimbursement for specified items and used to pay for such items.

 

Treatment of Exempt Funds

  • Exempt funds kept in a separate account retain the exemption for an unlimited period of time.

  • Exempt funds that are commingled with other funds maintain exemption for six months from the date they are commingled and will then be considered an asset, with the exception of assets of students or self-employed households whose assets are exempt for the period of time that they have.

Inaccessible Assets

Inaccessible assets include, but are not limited to:

 

·     security deposits on rental property or utilities;

·     property in probate;

·     property that the household is making a good faith effort to sell at a reasonable; price and that has not been sold; and

·     irrevocable trust funds.

 

A trust is considered an irrevocable trust fund when:

 

·     it is not likely to terminate during the certification period and no member of the household has the power to revoke the trust or change the beneficiary;

·     the trustee is a court, institution, organization or corporation and is not under the direction of a household member, the appointed trustee has court imposed; limitations placed on the use of the funds or the trustee is not under the direction or control of any household member;

·     the investments made by the trust are made without the assistance or direct involvement by a household member; and

·     the funds, established from a household's own funds, where the trustee must make investments on behalf of the trust or to pay educational; or medical expenses for any person named by the household creating the trust, or established from non-household funds by a non-household member.

 

Verification of Inaccessibility

Verification of Inaccessibility is mandatory at recertification or anytime circumstances regarding accessibility change.  The following documents are acceptable:

 

·     a copy of the original legal instrument that established the trust;

·     legal or financial statements that document the inaccessibility;

·     documents showing the unsuccessful attempt of the household member to convert the asset to cash; and

·     documents that show how the holders name appears on the account:

§  if the account is titled A or B, both individuals have full access to the account

§  if the account is titled A and B, neither individual has access to the account without the consent of the co-holder.  The household member must submit a written statement from the co-holder denying such consent.  If the household member is unable to obtain such a statement, he or she may submit an affidavit stating that he or she does not have the co-holder’s consent

§  if the account is titled A in trust for B, or A for B, A has full access to the account and B has no access to the account

§  if the account title contains only one name, that individual has full access to the account

§  the household member demonstrates lack of ownership with a statement from the institution about its inaccessibility

 

Assets Policy and Procedures

 

 

  Last Update: December 29, 2017