0205.005.00  Resources

13 CSR 40-3.2.310 provides for a resource limit of $1,000 for applicant families, and $5,000 for participant families who have entered into a self sufficiency pact.

Resources include real property, personal property, cash, securities, and the cash surrender value of life insurance and prepaid burial plans.

0205.005.05 Property Counted as a Resource

IM-#154 November 21, 2002

Include property owned by the parent(s) and eligible child(ren) in the home.  If there is a stepparent, consider the full value of property owned jointly by the parent and stepparent.  If the parent is not one of the record owners, do not consider the value of property owned by the stepparent.  If a needy non-parent caretaker relative (NPCR) or legal guardian is included in the assistance group, count in full the property owned by the NPCR or legal guardian and their spouse.

If a husband or wife own property jointly and desertion or abandonment occurs or one spouse is in a hospital or nursing home on a continuing basis (thus the husband and wife are living apart and the children are considered deprived of parental support), consider one-half of the combined equity in jointly-owned property in determining each claimant's eligibility.

If a parent or child receives SSI or SP, do not consider any property owned in its entirety by the SSI or SP recipient in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.  Consider property owned jointly by an SSI or SP recipient and an Temporary Assistance payee or eligible child as follows.

Include full equity of real property owned jointly by the SSI or SP recipient and the Temporary Assistance payee in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.  EXCEPTION:  If the SSI or SP recipient and Temporary Assistance payee are unmarried parents of the Temporary Assistance child, exclude the SSI or SP recipient's portion of real property in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.

Prorate the value of any personal property owned jointly by the SSI or SP recipient and the Temporary Assistance payee or eligible children between or among the owners.  Include that portion owned by those other than the SSI or SP recipient in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.

EXAMPLE:  An SSI or SP recipient and spouse who is the Temporary Assistance payee have a joint bank account.  Consider only one-half the balance in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.  If an eligible child's name is also on the account, consider two-thirds of the balance in determining eligibility for Temporary Assistance.

0205.005.10 Real Property

Real property includes land (including buildings or improvements on it), and its natural assets such as minerals, water, etc.

Exclude the following real property from the determination of equity to be counted as an available resource:

  1. homestead exemption;
  2. life estate, dower interest, and remainder interest;
  3. burial lots; and
  4. other real property.

Include all other real property in determining a family's equity in resources.

0205.005.10.05 Homestead Exemption

Exclude a claimant's home (real property that furnishes shelter).

Exclude a mobile home that furnishes shelter for the family.  This exclusion will occur regardless of whether the mobile home can be moved or who owns the land on which it is located.  When two mobile homes are joined to form one housing unit, treat as one home.

Consider the land on which the home is located, up to 40 acres, as part of the home. Exclude it as long as the land is adjoining and no other home exists on the land.  Consider land in rural areas adjoining even though a road may separate two tracts.

When an individual or couple owns two pieces of property and lives part-time in each property, they are required to designate one of the properties as their home.  Consider the other property in determining the family's equity in resources.

When a family purchases a second piece of property and uses it as a home, or when two individuals marry, each owning their own home, consider the vacated home in determining the family's equity in resources.

When an individual and spouse are separated, own a home jointly, and the spouse remains in the home, exclude the homestead (home and 40 adjoining acres) in determining equity in resources as long as the spouse remains in the home.  Include any excess acreage (exceeding 40 acres) in determining equity in resources.  If the spouse dies or moves out, immediately consider the property in determining the family's equity in resources.  In the event of divorce, immediately consider equity in the property a resource.  If a family buys a second piece of property, do not consider the one-half equity in the homestead in which the spouse continues to live in determining equity in resources unless a divorce is obtained.

0205.005.10.10 Life Estate, Dower Interest, Remainder Interest

  1. Life Estate

    Exclude a life estate in determining equity in resources.  Life estate is explained as the right of an individual to possess, use, occupy, and receive income from the property during his/her natural life.  The interest ceases upon death.  The individual cannot sell the property, but can sell or mortgage the life interest.  The individual can use, sell, or dispose of the income received from the property.

  2. Dower Interest

    Exclude dower interest in determining equity in resources.  Dower is the interest the surviving spouse has in real estate belonging to a deceased spouse.  It is only a life estate.  It does not exist unless death occurred prior to January 1, 1956.  Dower interest is one-third of the real estate for life the deceased spouse owned at death.  Dower has been abolished in all estates when death occurred after December 31, 1955.

  3. Remainder Interest

    Remainder interest is the interest a person has in property when another person owns a life estate in that property.  Do not consider such remainder interest in determining equity in resources.  This occurs as long as another person continues to own the life estate.  If this person relinquishes the life estate or dies, consider the total equity in the property in determining eligibility under the resource maximum.

0205.005.10.15 Burial Lots

Burial lots are those owned or purchased for the sole purpose of burial of relatives.  Exclude one burial lot per family member in determining eligibility in resources.

0205.005.10.20 Other Real Property

Real property that is not excludable can be exempt under certain conditions.  This includes, but is not limited to, property used in the course of business or employment.

Consider some income-producing property as part of the homestead and exempt it.  For persons owning and living in duplexes or apartment buildings or renting a room in their home, consider that property as part of the homestead and exclude it.  Likewise, for persons renting a converted garage or similar building, consider that property as part of the homestead and exclude it.

If two houses are on the property, the home where the family is not living is included in determining equity in resources.

Use the following guidelines in determining the amount of land to consider.

  1. For town or city property, include the lot on which the home is located.
  2. For rural property, if the home is located on a separate tract, include the tract on which the home is located.  If the home is located on the same tract of land as the claimant's home, include only a minimal amount of land.  In this case, use the equity in the house alone to determine eligibility.

0205.005.15 Determination of Equity in Property

For determining eligibility for assistance, consider the value of real estate as its current market value less the total amount of indebtedness.  In determining the value of real property, do not use the assessed value as the sole basis of the determination.  Use the assessed value to confirm the claimant's statement if eligibility is not in question.

In reinvestigations, accept a claimant's statement of equity if reasonable, unless substantial improvements have been made in the condition of the property.

0205.005.15.05 Determination of Value of Property

Determine the value of property by using any one of the following methods.

  1. Knowledge of a purchase offer made in good faith within the past year.
  2. The purchase price if the property was recently purchased (unless a reason exists to believe the purchase price was in excess of the current market value, in which case use the procedure in #4).
  3. The individual's estimate of the property value without an appraisal, provided that the estimate is confirmed by judgment and knowledge of the value of similar property.
  4. A statement of probable current market value from a real estate agent or someone well acquainted with real estate values.  When such a statement cannot be secured without charge, payment may be made from administrative funds for an appraisal of the present market value by a non-interested person (a real estate or loan agent, certified appraiser, or otherwise competent person) to make appraisals.  Explain to the appraiser that s/he may be called upon to appear at a hearing in case of an appeal.

0205.005.15.10 Determine Debt Recorded Against Property

Determine debt recorded against property.  This can be a mortgage on the property, liens, unpaid taxes, or other debts recorded against it.  Such debts are usually verified by copies of the mortgage or lien in the individual's possession or from payment schedules where monthly payments are made.  DO NOT CONSIDER INDEBTEDNESS NOT RECORDED AS A MORTGAGE OR LIEN AGAINST THE PROPERTY (EXCEPT PROPERTY TAXES).

0205.005.15.15 Determine Equity in Excess Acreage

Most often, a home and adjoining land are bought with one loan for the entire property.  When determining a family's equity in land exceeding 40 acres, and only one loan exists for the entire property, determine the proportionate value of the excess acreage versus the entire property (home and 40 acres plus excess acreage).  Apply that percentage to debt to determine the proportionate share of debt to consider against the excess acreage.  The value of the excess acreage less proportionate debt equals equity in excess acreage.

EXAMPLE:  A family is buying a home and 55 acres.  The home and 40 acres are valued at $45,000.  The excess 15 acres are valued at $6,000.  The outstanding debt on the entire property is $30,000.  The proportionate value of excess property to total property is $6,000 divided by $51,000 equaling 11.8 percent.  11.8 percent multiplied by $30,000 equals $3,540, the proportionate debt.  Equity in excess property is the $6,000 value less $3,540 debt equaling $2,460.  Equity of $2,460 in the excess property exceeds the $1,000 resource maximum allowed for applicants.

If an applicant is just slightly over the $1,000 maximum, contact the bank or institution holding the loan to determine how much payment it expects from the outstanding loan if the excess property is sold.  Consider the bank's or institution's statement in making the final determination.

0205.005.15.20 Property Owned Jointly

Some property belongs to both husband and wife.  It is recorded in both names, in entirety, (neither one can sell or otherwise dispose of the property, without the consent of the other.)  When separated, compute each one's equity in property jointly owned as one-half of the net real value of the property.  Tenancy in entirety is dissolved by death of one of the parties or by divorce.

When property is owned by two or more persons other than husband and wife, or by a divorced couple, it is most often called tenancy in common.  Each person's share in the property is proportional to the total number of persons unless a different division is specified in the deed or will, if the property was acquired by inheritance.  If three persons have tenancy in common in a piece of property, each normally owns one-third of the property.  Each owner can sell or otherwise dispose of his/her share in the property without consent of the others, and his/her share at death is inherited by heirs.  Such an arrangement is indicated in the deed or will by the words tenancy in common or share and share alike, a statement that the property is held jointly, or a statement that the owners have joint property.

Occasionally property owned by two or more persons (other than husband or wife) is held in joint tenancy.  This means the property cannot be inherited by the heirs of the one who dies first but remains the property of the survivor.  As long as both or all joint owners are living, the equity of each owner is the same as for a tenancy in common.

For individuals owning property by tenancy in common or joint tenancy, consider their equity in such property regardless of the fractional interest owned by each.  Verify the individual's ownership of fractional interest in the property at the time of approval or reinvestigation.  As with other property, accept the claimant's estimate of the value without obtaining an appraisal, provided the estimate is confirmed by judgment and knowledge of the value of similar property.  If in doubt of the individual's value estimate, request a special appraisal to determine the value of the fractional interest.

If a special appraisal is required and no appraiser can be located, document the efforts to secure an appraisal.  The individual's value can then be accepted.

0205.005.20 Excess Real Property

Exclude the value of property that is considered a resource if the household is making a good faith effort to sell.

  1. Exclusion of excess real property is applicable as follows:
    1. An applicant owns real property, not excluded, that either alone or in combination with other resources exceeds the resource maximum of $1,000.  Establish all other eligibility factors prior to allowing this exclusion.
    2. A participant either owns or acquires real property not excluded that in combination with other resources either owned or acquired exceeds the resource maximum.  The notice of adverse action to close the case due to excess resources informs the claimant of retaining eligibility if s/he makes a good faith effort to sell the property.
  2. Exclusion of excess real property is not applicable as follows.
    1. If resources (excluding real property) exceed the resource maximum, the participant is ineligible on resources.
    2. If equity in real property does not exceed the resource maximum and the participant has other resources that are easier to dispose of (such as cash and securities), inform them of their choices.  Never advise the participant as to disposition.  Leave this decision to the family.

      EXAMPLE:  An applicant has equity in real property of $500, equity in a second car $300 over and above the $1,500 exemption, and $400 in cash and securities.  The applicant is otherwise eligible and, if approved, would receive a maximum grant for three people.

      If the applicant instead uses cash and securities to deplete resources to $1,000 or less, s/he must use $200 before gaining eligibility.

0205.005.20.05 Good Faith Effort to Sell

  1. In order to show a good faith effort to sell, a family must:
    1. list the real property with a reputable real estate agent and cooperate with the real estate agent in marketing the property (i.e., showing the property, setting a realistic sales price, etc.) OR publicly advertise the property for sale no less than weekly in a general newspaper;
    2. accept reasonable purchase offers (i.e., meeting realistic sales price); and
    3. initiate any legal action necessary to force a sale when other owners outside the assistance group do not wish to sell.
  2. Monitor good faith efforts.

    The participant must report the following:

    1. which realtor the property is listed with OR proof of weekly advertising in a general newspaper;
    2. all purchase offers and their disposition; and
    3. if necessary to force a sale, what legal actions have been initiated.

    Use the realtor as the primary source of information to verify the participant's cooperation.

  3. If claimant is not making a good faith effort to sell, send advance notice of proposed closing due to excess resources.

0205.005.20.10 Property Sells

  1. Determine net proceeds from the sale.  The participant must submit evidence of the gross amount for which the resource was sold, the amount of any mortgage balance, legal fees, realtor fees, etc.  Question the participant to ensure all items are included in the report.  The participant must keep records of expenses in disposing of the resource, they must submit the record or receipts showing the nature, amount, and time of such expenses.  Subtract all of these amounts from the gross figure in determining the net from the sale.
    1. If net proceeds from the sale of the property, together with all other resources,are less than the maximum resource limit, the family is eligible on the basis of resources.

      If net proceeds from the sale of the property, together with all other resources, exceed the resource maximum, consider the family ineligible on resources.  Ineligibility begins the month after the family receives the proceeds from the sale, if the proceeds are retained.  If the money from the sale of the property is not kept by the family, and is not converted into another type of countable resource, do not consider it an available resource.

0205.005.25 Personal Property

Personal property includes household goods, jewelry, livestock, farm surplus (such as grain, produce, etc.), farm or business machinery or equipment, automobiles and trucks, and similar items.  Even though mobile homes are personal property, treat them as real property.

0205.005.25.05 Automobiles

Automobile is defined as a passenger car or other motor vehicle used to provide transportation of goods or persons.

Exclude the equity value of one automobile and up to $1500 equity value of an additional automobile in determining equity in resources for Temporary Assistance applicants and participants.  If two or more additional vehicles are owned, subtract the $1500 exclusion from one, whichever is most beneficial to the recipient.  Once the $1500 exclusion is applied to an additional automobile, the remaining equity in that automobile, plus the equity in any other additional automobile, must be included in determining the claimant's equity in resources.

0205.005.25.10 Saleable Personal Property

Do not include saleable personal property used to produce income in determining the claimant's equity in resources.  Do not exclude an automobile or truck under this provision.  Evaluate all motor vehicles according to the policy outlined for automobiles.  Excludable personal property can include tools (carpenter's, farmer's), farm livestock or produce (raised for home consumption or to sell), merchandise (salesman's), etc.

Include saleable personal property not used to produce income (and not otherwise excluded) in determining the claimant's equity in resources.  EXCEPTION:  For any person temporarily laid off, experiencing a non-work cycle, or temporarily disabled, exclude work-related personal property as a resource.

0205.005.25.15 Household Items and Jewelry

  1. Household Furnishings

    Do not include household furnishings in determining the claimant's equity in resources unless they are not used by the claimant.

  2. Jewelry

    Exclude jewelry of limited value (i.e., costume jewelry) and wedding and engagement rings from determining a family's equity in resources.

  3. Personal Effects and Household Goods

    Exclude personal effects (i.e., clothing, cosmetics, toys, etc.) and household goods (i.e., food on hand, cleaning supplies, tools used for home maintenance, lawnmower, etc.) in determining equity in property.

0205.005.30 Cash And Securities

Cash and securities include cash in personal possession or in a safe-deposit box; deposits in bank, building and loan, or trust companies; stocks; bonds; mortgages; promissory notes; U.S. Savings Bonds; building and loan certificates; personal notes; bills of exchange; bank checks; certificates of deposit; the balance due on a sales contract; and similar instruments, both negotiable and non-negotiable.

Exclude the following when determining a family's equity in resources.

0205.005.30.05 Assistance, Deficiency Payment, or Retroactive Payments

Exclude any cash on hand remaining from an assistance check, or any other budgeted monthly income received by the assistance group during the month in which the investigation is conducted, as it is income.  Do not consider in the amount of cash and securities owned.

Exclude deficiency or retroactive payments for the month paid and in the following month.

0205.005.30.10 Governmental Payments

IM-#154 November 21, 2002
  1. Exclude Uniform Relocation Act payments received by the family as follows.
    1. When the family is relocated from one rental quarter to another for the period of time for which the funds are appropriated as long as such funds are maintained separately and not reinvested in property.  When and if this property is sold, immediately consider the funds a resource.
    2. Relocation payments for property purchased by the State Highway Department or property purchased under the Housing Act resulting in relocating an assistance recipient (Section 216 of Public Law 91-646).  Also exclude such payments in determining income of the assistance group.
    3. Relocation assistance payments used to purchase other real property until such time as the other real property is sold or transferred.
    4. Payments made as a result of condemnation or eminent domain procedures are not included in the Uniform Relocation Assistance Act and are treated in accordance with the instructions in Evaluation of Cash Received from Involuntary Conversion of Real Property into Personal Property.
  2. Exclude Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments received by a family as an available resource in the month of receipt and the month following receipt.
  3. Exclude Radiation Exposure Compensation Act payments, authorized by Public Law 101-426, enacted October 15, 1990.

0205.005.30.15 Involuntary Conversion of Real Property

Treat involuntary conversion of real property into personal property as follows.

Apply the following to Temporary Assistance participants, not to applicants.

Consider any proceeds from involuntary conversion of real property into personal property (such as forced transfer under condemnation; eminent domain; and fire, flood, or other acts of God) received by a family while receiving cash benefits.  Receipt means actual receipt of the proceeds or the payment into court of the proceeds.  EXCEPTION:  In condemnation cases where the initial exception to the com-missioner's award is filed by the condemning authority, receipt means receipt of an award under a final judgment.

Consider the following in administering this section of the law.

  1. Determine whether property is taken by condemnation or eminent domain based on whether or not the property has been sold to a governmental agency or a public utility authorized to acquire property by eminent domain.  It is immaterial whether such property was acquired by purchase or through condemnation proceedings.
  2. Fire, flood, or other acts of God are interpreted as also including destruction of real property by wind or storm.  For a payment received from an insurance company, apply the same exemption as described below for property sold under eminent domain.
  3. Do not consider money or other payment received as a result of actions described in items 1 or 2 above in determining the amount of equity owned by a participant until one year from the date payment is received.  The date of receipt is defined (except as stated below in 4) as the date on which the payment was made to the Clerk of the Court or to the recipient.  Obtain and record the actual date of receipt of such payment and inform the participant of the exemption contained in this law.  Request that the claimant notify FSD as soon as another home is purchased.
  4. An exception is made to the definition of the date of receipt in condemnation cases where the condemning authority files an appeal to the award made by the commissioner.  In such cases, the date of receipt is defined to include the period of time while the appeal is pending.  Date of receipt is the date on which payment is received as a result of a final judgment.

0205.005.30.20 Income Received Annually

Exclude income received on an annual basis (such as sale of livestock in the fall) and put aside in a separate account for yearly maintenance as cash and securities.  Consider as income when determining need.  Consider any amount remaining at the end of the year as cash and securities.  Determine the year by computing from the sale of livestock, etc.  If other funds are deposited in this account, such as a Social Security check, etc., consider the entire amount as cash and securities.

0205.005.30.25 Trusts, IDAs and Inaccessible Resources

IM-96, October 26, 2015

Count trust funds or restricted bank accounts as income or cash and securities only if actually available.  If they are available in lump sum, count as cash and securities.  If available in regular installments, count as income.

Where a trust fund or restricted account (controlled by the Probate Court) is involved, advise the Probate Court in writing that the person is a Temporary Assistance applicant or participant explain that FSD must consider all legally available resources.  Inquire whether the trust fund or restricted account is available to the claimant.  Inquire if it is available in the entire lump sum or in regular payments.  Base the decision on how to utilize resource in the Court's reply.

If the Probate Court does not reply within 20 days, verbally follow up.  On pending applications or applications to add a child or person, immediately approve or reject assuming the trust fund or restricted account is unavailable.  Follow-up will be conducted after a decision on the application is made.  If the information is still unavailable after a verbal follow-up, assume the funds are not available.  Exclude them in determining eligibility on cash and securities.  Unless the claimant indicates otherwise, assume no income is available from these funds.  If further information regarding the trust fund or restricted account is received from the Probate Court at a later time, reconsider availability of the funds.

For restricted accounts not controlled by the Probate Court, determine whether or not the account is available.  If the restricted account is clearly available to the individual, count as income or cash and securities, as appropriate.  If the restricted account is clearly unavailable, exclude in determining eligibility.

Consider an Individual Development Account (IDA) to be a restricted account. Do not consider any portion of the account to be available to the claimant.

Consider an Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) account to be a restricted account. Do not consider any portion of the account to be available to the claimant.

0205.005.30.30 Joint Accounts

Exclude a joint bank account if the claimant states he/she has not contributed to the balance and circumstances indicate this is reasonable.  Only count that portion of a joint account as cash and securities to which the claimant contributed.  Accept the claimant's statement.  This does NOT apply in stepparent cases.  In step parent situations consider the total amount on deposit.

0205.005.30.35 Comingled Accounts

Exempt funds retain exclusion indefinitely if maintained in a separate account.  Excluded funds in an account with non-excluded funds retain exemption for six months from the date of commingling.  After the six month time limit, consider all funds in the comingled account as a resource.

NOTE:  Resources of students and self-employed households that are prorated as income and are comingled in an account with non-excluded funds retain exclusion for the period of time over which they have been prorated as income.

0205.005.30.40 Bona Fide Loans

Exclude a bona fide loan from any source.  A bona fide loan is supported by a written agreement to repay within a specified time or received from an individual or establishment engaged in the business of making loans.  If neither condition applies, consider a loan bona fide if the claimant acknowledges, verbally or in writing that:

  1. an obligation to repay with or without interest exists;
  2. a pledge to repay using real or personal property or anticipated income exists, or becomes apparent; or
  3. a written timetable and plan for repayment exists.

0205.005.30.45  Indian and Alaskan Native Payments

  1. Exclude payments received by any member of the Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, or the Houlton Band of Malisset Indians pursuant to the Maine Indian Claims Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-420).
  2. Exclude payments received by any member of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs pursuant to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act (Public Law 102-171).

0205.005.35 Life Insurance and Prepaid Burials


    Include the cash surrender value of life insurance in determining the family's equity in resources.  Consider insurance policies paid for by the family, but insuring another person not in the assistance group, available only to the insured person.  If someone else pays the premium, refer to #3, Provisions that Apply to Both Life Insurance and Prepaid Burials, in this section.


    Disregard $1,500 of equity value for each family member when counting equity value of prepaid burials in determining eligibility for resources.  Apply the value of an irrevocable prepaid burial, although not counted toward the resource maximum, against the $1,500 equity value exemption.

    Three types of prepaid burial contracts exist.  Refer to the General Information Manual for definitions.  In arriving at the equity under either of the three contract types, the value is the total of all payments made that exceed the amount to which the seller is entitled upon cancellation.  Any interest earned by such deposited funds belongs to the seller.

    In the event a family purchased or is purchasing a prepaid burial plan through a written contract that does not meet the specification of the three plans, the individual owns 100 percent of such funds and the $1,500 exemption applies the same way it applies to a valid contract.

    If the family has an irrevocable pre-need contract (see the General Information Manual), the following options are available.

    1. A participant may establish an irrevocable pre-need contract in any amount.  Do not count the amount of the irrevocable agreement toward the resource maximum.  In rare cases when a person has two prepaid burials, one irrevocable and one revocable, count the amount of the irrevocable agreement against the pre-paid burial exemption of $1,500.
    2. A participant may declare any pre-need contract in effect on August 13, 1982 irrevocable.  The individual must sign an agreement with the seller relinquishing revocability of the contract.  Once the contract is made irrevocable, the individual may never regain control of this money.
    3. A participant must make an informed decision about the type of contract they should sign.  Answer eligibility questions concerning available resources.  The participant and their family must be allowed to make the final decision.
  3. Provisions that Apply to Both Life Insurance and Prepaid Burials

    If the value of the participant's life insurance/prepaid burial policies on which other persons are paying premiums might affect eligibility, determine the length of time the arrangement has been in effect, the amount paid out in premiums, and whether a release of the policy has been executed.

    The assets in a life insurance policy belong to the insured person unless s/he signed a release to a person paying the premiums and registered this release with the insurance company. EXCEPTION:  If premiums have been paid by other relatives since the date of issuance, consider the policy as belonging to this relative, it will not affect eligibility.  If the participant paid the premiums for part of the time the policy has been in effect, determine claimant equity by computing his/her proportionate share based on present cash surrender value.

    EXAMPLE:  An individual's policy has been in effect for 20 years. It has a present cash surren-der value of $800.  A daughter paid the premiums for the past 15 years.  Consider the individuals equity as five-twentieths or one-fourth of the cash surrender value, or $200.  These instructions also apply to prepaid burials.