§ 416.1222. How income-producing property essential to self-support is counted.

(a) General. When deciding the value of property used in a trade or business or nonbusiness income-producing activity, only the individual's equity in the property is counted. We will exclude as essential to self-support up to $6,000 of an individual's equity in income-producing property if it produces a net annual income to the individual of at least 6 percent of the excluded equity. If the individual's equity is greater than $6,000, we count only the amount that exceeds $6,000 toward the allowable resource limit specified in § 416.1205 if the net annual income requirement of 6 percent is met on the excluded equity. If the activity produces less than a 6-percent return due to circumstances beyond the individual's control (for example, crop failure, illness, etc.), and there is a reasonable expectation that the individual's activity will again produce a 6-percent return, the property is also excluded. If the individual owns more than one piece of property and each produces income, each is looked at to see if the 6-percent rule is met and then the amounts of the individual's equity in all of those properties producing 6 percent are totaled to see if the total equity is $6,000 or less. The equity in those properties that do not meet the 6-percent rule is counted toward the allowable resource limit specified in § 416.1205. If the individual's total equity in the properties producing 6-percent income is over the $6,000 equity limit, the amount of equity exceeding $6,000 is counted as a resource toward the allowable resource limit.

Example 1.  Sharon has a small business in her home making hand-woven rugs. The looms and other equipment used in the business have a current market value of $7,000. The value of her equity is $5,500 since she owes $1,500 on the looms. Sharon's net earnings from self-employment is $400. Since Sharon's equity in the looms and other equipment ($5,500) is under the $6,000 limit for property essential to self-support and her net income after expenses ($400) is greater than 6 percent of her equity, her income-producing property is excluded from countable resources. The home is not considered in any way in valuing property essential to self-support.

Example 2.  Charlotte operates a farm. She owns 3 acres of land on which her home is located. She also owns 10 acres of farm land not connected to her home. There are 2 tool sheds and 2 animal shelters located on the 10 acres. She has various pieces of farm equipment that are necessary for her farming activities. We exclude the house and the 3 acres under the home exclusion (see § 416.1212). However, we look at the other 10 acres of land, the buildings and equipment separately to see if her total equity in them is no more than $6,000 and if the annual rate of return is 6 percent of her equity. In this case, the 10 acres and buildings are valued at $4,000 and the few items of farm equipment and other inventory are valued at $1,500. Charlotte sells produce which nets her more than 6 percent for this year. The 10 acres and other items are excluded as essential to her self-support and they continue to be excluded as long as she meets the 6-percent annual return requirement and the equity value of the 10 acres and other items remains less than $6,000.

Example 3.  Henry has an automobile repair business valued at $5,000. There are no debts on the property and bills are paid monthly. For the past 4 years the business has just broken even. Since Henry's income from the business is less then 6 percent of his equity, the entire $5,000 is counted as his resources. Since this exceeds the resources limit as described in § 416.1205, he is not eligible for SSI benefits.

(b) Exception. Property that represents the authority granted by a governmental agency to engage in an income-producing activity is excluded as property essential to self-support if it is:

(1) Used in a trade or business or nonbusiness income-producing activity; or

(2) Not used due to circumstances beyond the individual's control, e.g., illness, and there is a reasonable expectation that the use will resume.

Example:  John owns a commercial fishing permit granted by the State Commerce Commission, a boat, and fishing tackle. The boat and tackle have an equity value of $6,500. Last year, John earned $2,000 from his fishing business. The value of the fishing permit is not determined because the permit is excluded under the exception. The boat and tackle are producing in excess of a 6 percent return on the excluded equity value, so they are excluded under the general rule (see paragraph (a) of this section) up to $6,000. The $500 excess value is counted toward the resource limit as described in § 416.1205.

[50 FR 42687, Oct. 22, 1985]