Unknown Assets and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In Benefits and Employment Articles, Benefits Articles, Blog, Featured, News, Tax Resources by eri

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries occasionally learn they own a countable asset they weren’t aware of. For example, a beneficiary may discover that a relative had purchased stock for them and it has a cash value.

Determining If an Unknown Asset is a Countable Asset

In this type of situation, Social Security first determines if the SSI beneficiary has:

  • ownership interest in the asset,
  • the legal authority to liquidate the asset (if not cash), and
  • the legal right to use the asset for support and maintenance.

If so, the asset is a countable resource for SSI, unless it is on the POMS list of resource exclusions.

The Asset Does Not Count Retroactively if Ownership was Not Known

The asset will not count as a resource retroactively as long as the person didn’t know that it existed.

Social Security will gather information if someone states that they were unaware of the asset.  There are a few ways Social Security does this:

  • through signed statements from the person or anyone else familiar with the asset.
  • by using supporting documents specific to the situation.

The Asset as Countable Income

The value of the asset is considered income in the month of its discovery. Any remaining balance is counted as a resource in following months.

For more information, see POMS Unknown Assets Policy.

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