SSR 81-5: Section 1614(f)(2) (42 U.S.C. 1382c(f)(2) Supplemental Security Income—Refundable Contributions to a State Retirement Fund—Deeming of Resources
20 CFR 416.1201, 416.1202(b), and 416.1205(a)
The claimant, a 13 year-old boy and his 11 year-old sister, applied for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits as disabled individuals in June 1979. They both live in the same household as their parents. Their father, who is no longer employed as a school teacher, has $5900 he contributed to a State teacher's retirement fund which is refundable to him upon request. Held, under 20 CFR 416.1201, the cash that the parent has in the State teacher's retirement fund is a resource. Further held, the claimants' resources are deemed to include, as provided in 20 CFR 416.1202(b), the resources of a parent; therefore, the claimants are ineligible for SSI benefits because their resources exceed the statutory limit.
The general issue is whether the claimants meet the resource limitation in title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act), which determines whether the claimants meet a basic eligibility criteria for the receipt of supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.
Based upon their multiple impairments, the claimants, a 13 year-old boy and his 11 year-old sister, applied for SSI benefits as disabled individuals on June 15, 1979. They both live in the same household as their parents. The parents have $360.00 in a savings account and $150.00 in a checking account. From 1973 through 1979, the claimants' father taught school as a junior high instructor. He quit his job, however, because he found it too difficult. As a result of his employment as a school teacher, the claimants' father has $5900.00 deposited in a State teacher's retirement fund. This money could not be withdrawn by him as long as he was working as a teacher; however, after he quit his job, he could withdraw the funds at any time. The claimants' mother believes that her children should be eligible for SSI benefits in spite of the $5900.00 in the State retirement fund, because she feels that this fund is essentially just a different type of retirement program from old-age social security benefits. By this she means that if her husband's employment had been covered by social security, and his pay subject to social security deductions rather than to deductions for purposes of the State retirement system, the claimants would not have had excess resources and would have been eligible for SSI benefits.
Section 416.1205(a) of Regulations No. 16 provides, in part, that an aged, blind, or disabled individual with no spouse shall be eligible for benefits under title XVI of the Act if his nonexcludable resources do not exceed $1500.00 and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Section 426.1202(b) of regulations No. 16 provides, in part, that in the case of a child under age 21, such child's resources shall be deemed to include any resources, to otherwise excluded under regulations, of a parent of such child who is living in the same household as such child, whether or not available to such child, to the extent that the resources exceed $2250.00 in the case of two parents.
Section 426.1201 of Regulations No. 16 provides that resources mean cash or any other liquid assets or any real or personal property that an individual (or spouse, if any) owns and could convert to cash to be used for his support and maintenance. If the individual has the right, authority or power to liquidate the property, or his share of the property, it is considered a resource. This section also provides that liquid resources include ". . . cash in savings accounts or checking accounts . . . and similar properties. . . ."
Under §416.1201, the $360.00 in the savings account, the $150 in the checking account, as well as the $5900.00 in the retirement fund constitute resources. Because these funds may be withdrawn at any time by the claimant's parents, they are available to use for their support and maintenance of the claimants. Therefore, the parents' total resources are $6410.00. Under §416.1202(b), the resources available for deeming amount to $4160.00 that is, $6410.00 less $2250.00); consequently one-half of the $4160.00, is deemed to each of the claimants. Because $2080 exceeds the $1500.00 resource limitation in §416.1205(a), the claimants are ineligible for SSI benefits.