Cash and Family Medical

Revised October 1, 2013

Purpose: 

WAC 388-470-0045 How do my resources count toward the resource limits for cash assistance?

WAC 388-470-0055 How do my resources count toward the resource limits for Basic Food?


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-470-0045

  1. Some examples of resources that are excluded for cash assistance programs are:
    1. Personal effects;
    2. Benefits from the Basic Food Program;
    3. LIHEAP payments;
    4. One burial plot for each AU member; and
    5. The income and resources of an SSI recipient.
  2. Some examples of lump sums for cash assistance are:
    1. Cash prizes;
    2. Awards;
    3. Lottery winnings;
    4. Refunds of cleaning, damage, security, or utility deposits; and
    5. Insurance or damage settlements, some or all of which may be excluded. See LUMP SUM PAYMENTS for more information.
  3. Sentimental Value Exemption

    The exemption of a resource due to “great sentimental value” is limited to personal property. Vehicles are counted or exempted as defined in WAC 388-470-0070.

  4. A trust fund is considered unavailable for cash assistance programs when:
    1. A household member cannot revoke the trust or change the beneficiary;
    2. The trustee administering the funds is not under the direction of a household member or is appointed by the court with court-imposed limitations on the use of the funds;
    3. The funds are used solely to make investments on behalf of the trust or pay for medical or educational expenses for a specific household member; and
    4. The investments made on behalf of the trust do not directly involve or assist any business or corporation under the control, direction, or influence of a household member.
    5. The client must petition the court to release part or all of a resource, including funds in blocked accounts or trusts. Review the status at each recertification/eligibility review.
  5. Real Property
    1. Public rights of way, such as roads that run through the surrounding property and separate it from the home, will not affect the exemption of the property.
    2. Definition of a “good faith effort to sell” real property:
      1. Listing the property with a real estate company;
      2. Actively showing the property;
      3. Placing signs on the property and ads in the newspaper; and
      4. Asking a price that is at or under fair market value (FMV).

Real and Personal Property Used for Self-Employment

  1. For cash assistance, real and personal property used for self-employment are excluded if:
    1. The property is necessary to restore the client's independence or will aid in rehabilitating the client or the client's dependents; and
    2. The client has an approved self-employment plan; and
    3. For WorkFirst participants, the self-employment enterprise is a component of the participant's approved Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
  2. Examples of real or personal property used in a self-employment business include:
    1. Farm Land;
    2. Farm Machinery;
    3. Livestock;
    4. Business Equipment; and
    5. Business Inventory.
  3. See the [WorkFirst Implementation Handbook](/ESA/wfhand/8_2.htm "WorkFirst Implementation Handbook") for developing the IRP for a self-employed WorkFirst participant.
  4. For non-WorkFirst participants, an approved self-employment plan must include the following:
    1. A time frame that the client's business will produce enough income to reduce the assistance unit's need for cash assistance;
    2. A requirement for the client to give the department adequate verification to verify the business' assets and expenses on a monthly basis. See: Income - C. - Special Income Types
    3. A statement of understanding between the client and the department that the real and personal property of the business will be excluded as long as there is an agreed plan.
    4. If the client does not sign an agreed plan, the value of all real and personal property of the business will count toward the assistance unit's resource limit.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-470-0045

  1. When the value of a child’s irrevocable educational trust fund is over $4000, determine the reason it is over the limit:
    1. Disregard the amount over the limit that is due to interest, as long as it remains in the trust.
    2. If the trust exceeds the limit for reasons other than interest, establish a period of ineligibility. See: TRANSFER OF PROPERTY - to Qualify for Cash Assistance.
EXAMPLE:

A child deposits the following amounts into an irrevocable educational trust:

  • June $800
  • July $1,600
  • August $1,600

As of 8/31/02, there is $4,000 in the irrevocable educational trust. The trust earns $16 in interest in the month of September, bringing the balance of the trust to $4,016. The funds in this trust are treated as follows:

  • Original $4,000: Unavailable resource.
  • $16 interest earned from the original $4,000: Unavailable as long as it remains held in trust.
EXAMPLE:

The child in the example above deposits an additional $1,600 of her earnings into her irrevocable educational trust, bringing the balance to $5,616. The funds in the account are treated as follows:

  • Original $4,000: Unavailable resource.
  • $16 interest earned from the original $4,000: Unavailable as long as it remains held in trust.
  • Additional $1,600 deposit: Unavailable resource, unallowable transfer of property. Impose a period of ineligibility based on this dollar amount.

If the client or child receives disbursements from the trust:

  1. Exclude any disbursements that are spent for educational expenses such as tuition, books, school supplies, and clothes for school.
  2. If the disbursements are not used for educational expenses:
    1. Treat the disbursements as a resource if the child or the child’s guardian owned or controlled the money before it was placed in the trust. If the amount of these disbursements causes the client’s resource to exceed the allowable limit, establish a period of ineligibility. See: TRANSFER OF PROPERTY - to Qualify for Cash Assistance.
    2. Treat the disbursements as unearned income if the child or the child’s guardian did not own or control the money before it was placed in the trust.
EXAMPLE:

The trustee of a child’s irrevocable educational trust disburses $200 from the trust to the child to pay tuition for summer school. The money in the trust is from the child’s earnings. The $200 disbursement is excluded as both income and a resource.

EXAMPLE:

The trustee of a child’s irrevocable educational trust disburses $200 from the trust to the child to buy a dog. The money in the trust was received as part of an insurance settlement and was deposited directly into the account from the insurance company, pursuant to a court order. The $200 is considered unearned income.


 Clarifying Information - WAC 388-470-0055 

  1. Trusts and trust accounts:

    A trust fund is considered unavailable for Basic Food when:

    1. A household member cannot revoke the trust or change the beneficiary;
    2. The trustee administering the funds is not under the direction of a household member or is appointed by the court with court-imposed limitations on the use of the funds;
    3. The funds are used solely to make investments on behalf of the trust or pay for medical or educational expenses for a specific household member; and
    4. The investments made on behalf of the trust do not directly involve or assist any business or corporation under the control, direction, or influence of a household member.
    5. The client must petition the court to release part or all of a resource, including funds in blocked accounts or trusts. Review the status at each recertification/eligibility review.

     

  2. Real Property
  3. Public rights of way, such as roads that run through the surrounding property and separate it from the home, will not affect the exemption of the property.
  4. Definition of a “good faith effort to sell” real property:
    1. Listing the property with a real estate company;
    2. Actively showing the property;
    3. Placing signs on the property and ads in the newspaper; and
    4. Asking a price that is at or under fair market value (FMV).
  • We do not count livestock as a resource if they are essential for self-employment. We also exclude them if they are raised as pets or used for food.
  • Retirement Accounts / Pension Plans:

    Retirement funds, pension plans, and retirement accounts are excluded as a resource for Basic Food. These retain their exclusion regardless of the client’s employment status. Below are some examples of retirement funds or pension plans that we exclude for Basic Food:

    1. Individual Retirement Accounts including SEP IRAs;
    2. Keogh plans;
    3. Federal Employee Thrift Savings plans;
    4. 401(a) and 401 (k) plans (generally a cash-or-deferred arrangement that is limited to profit-making firms);
    5. 403(a) and 403(b) plans (tax-sheltered annuities provided for employees of tax-exempt organizations and State and local educational organizations);
    6. 408 and 408(a) plans (Roth IRAs);
    7. 457 plans (plans for State and local governments and other tax-exempt organizations); and
    8. Section 501(c)(18) plans (retirement plans for union members consisting of employee contributions to certain trust that must have been established before June 1959).

 

  • Education Accounts:

    Funds in an education account or plan under section 529 and 530 of the Internal Revenue Code are exempt for Basic Food. 529 plans are often referred to as prepaid tuition or college savings plans. A 530 plan is known as a Coverdell Education Savings Account and used to be called an Education IRA.

  • Some examples of lump sums for Basic Food are:
    1. Insurance settlements;
    2. Income tax refunds or rebates;
    3. Refunds of cleaning, damage, security, or utility deposits;
    4. VA Disability Pension annual adjustment payment; and
    5. Business and personal loans. We count the "payoff amount" that the bank or other financial institution wants to satisfy the loan.
  • For Basic Food, all loans, except educational loans, are considered countable resources. This also includes:
    1. Cash withdrawn from a credit card account; and
    2. The available portion of secured credit cards. To determine the available portion:
      1. Determine that the client can actually access the funds by canceling the credit card; and
      2. Subtract any amount owed to the credit card company for purchases.