SSR 82-26: SECTIONS 1611(a)(1)(B)(i) and 1613(a) (42 U.S.C. 1382(a)(1)(B)(i) and 1382b(a)) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME -- RESOURCES -- REAL PROPERTY
20 CFR 416.1201, 416.1205(a), 416.1210(a), AND 416.1212
- The claimant applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as a disabled individual in September 1980. Although the claimant and his wife, who is ineligible for SSI benefits, live together in a rented house, they also own a parcel of land with a two room structure and a travel trailer on it in another State. The claimant and his wife plan to use that property as their residence for approximately half of the year at some time in the future. At the present time, however, they only use it as a vacation home for approximately one month each year. When the equity value of the claimant's property was considered along with his other nonexcludable resources, including savings and checking accounts, the claimant's resources exceeded the statutory limit; consequently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied his application. The claimant appealed, however, contending that because the property was the only real property he owned it should be considered his home for SSI eligibility purposes and excluded from consideration as a resource under 20 CFR 416.1212(a)(2). Held, the claimant's property was not excludable from resources as a home because, under 20 CFR 416.1212(b), it was not his principal place of residence. Accordingly, since the equity value of that property had to be included in determining his countable resources, the claimant was ineligible for SSI benefits because his resources exceeded the statutory limit.
The issue is whether certain real property owned by the claimant is excludable as a home in determining his countable resources for SSI eligibility purposes.
The claimant is a 49-year-old married individual who filed an application for SSI benefits due to disability on September 4, 1980. At the time of his application for title XVI benefits, the claimant reported that he was residing in a rented house with his wife, who is ineligible for SSI benefits and employed by a local school district.
The claimant also disclosed that he and his wife own a half acre parcel of land with a two room structure and a travel trailer on it in another State. Although the claimant and his wife look forward to eventually using that property as their residence during approximately half of the year, currently they only use it as a vacation home during approximately one month of each year. When SSA determined that the claimant's real property was a countable resource and denied his application because his total accountable resources exceeded the statutory limit, the claimant filed an appeal. Since the claimant's property is the only real property which he and his wife own, he believes that it would be considered his home for SSI eligibility purposes and excluded from consideration as a resource.
Section 1611(a)(1)(B)(i) of the Social Security Act and § 416.1205(a) of Regulations No. 16 provide that an aged, blind, or disabled individual who is living with an ineligible spouse shall be eligible for benefits under title XVI of the Act if his nonexcludable resources do not exceed $2,250.00 and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Section 1613(a) of the Act provides that certain items shall be excluded in determining the resources of an individual.
Section 416.1201 of Regulations No. 16 defines resources as "cash or other liquid assets or any real or personal property that an individual . . . 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. If a property right cannot be liquidated, the property will not be considered a resource of the individual . . .
- (C) Nonliquid resources include all other properties. The term includes both real and personal property. Nonliquid resources are evaluated according to their equity value except as otherwise provided . . .
- (2) . . . the 'equity value' of an item is defined as: . . . The price that item can reasonably be expected to sell for on the open market in the particular geographic area involved; minus . . . Any encumbrances."
Section 416.1210 of Regulations No. 16 provides, in pertinent part, that --
- "In determining the resources of an individual (and spouse, if any) the following items shall be excluded:
- (a) The home (including the land appertaining thereto) to the extent its value does not exceed the amount set forth in § 416.1212 . . ."
Section 416.1212(a)(2) of Regulations No. 16 provides that --
- "Effective October 1976, the entire value of a home is excluded in determining the resources of an individual (and spouse, if any)."
- Section 416.1212(b) of Regulations No. 16 provides that --
- "A home . . . is any shelter in which the individual (and spouse, if any) has ownership interest and which is used by the individual (and spouse, if any) as his principal place of residence. The home includes any land that appertains thereto and any related outbuildings necessary to the operation of the home."
Title XVI of the Act provides certain eligibility requirements that an individual must satisfy to receive SSI benefits. One of those requirements is a limit on the amount of resources that an individual can retain and still receive SSI benefits. The Act prescribes that the total resources for an individual who is living with an ineligible spouse must not exceed $2,250. In determining the value of resources that count against the limitation, certain items owned by an individual are excluded from consideration. Among the items excluded from the resource limitation is an individual's home. The regulations define a home for purposes of a resource exclusion as any shelter in which the individual has an ownership interest and which is used by the individual as his or her principal place of residence. Only the principal place of residence may be an excludable home for title XVI purposes. If an individual owns property or a residence which is not the individual's principal place of residence, the value of the property or residence must be included in computing the value of the individual's countable resources.
Under the circumstances present in this case, the weight of the substantial and credible evidence confirms that the claimant's real property is not excludable from resources for purposes of determining his eligibility for SSI benefits. While the property may represent the only real property in which the claimant and his wife have an ownership interest, the claimant's principal place of residence appears very clearly from the record to be the house that he and his wife rent. They have rented their current residence for a period of over two years, and the claimant's wife is regularly employed by the school district in that area. When he applied for SSI benefits, the claimant characterized the property he owned as a vacation residence at which he and his wife typically spent no more than one month out of each year.
Although the claimant's property is valued at $2,500, encumbrances total $275; therefore, under 20 CFR 416.1201(c)(2) of Regulations No. 16, the equity value of that property is $2,225. When the equity value of the claimant's property is considered along with his other nonexcludable resources, including savings and checking accounts, the claimant's resources exceed the $2,250 resource limitation. Accordingly, the claimant is ineligible for SSI benefits because his countable resources exceed the statutory limit.