5200 General Guidelines


The following general rules are applicable.


  1. Resources must be real (i.e., their value can be defined and measured).
  2. Value of resources must be established by objective measurement. In some instances, it is possible for a piece of property to have no market value if it can be established that the property cannot be sold for any price. A statement that the property is not saleable due to a specific condition from one or more knowledgeable sources (i.e., bankers, realtors, etc.) in the applicable geographic area could be used for this purpose. Such condition should be reviewed at each redetermination to ascertain if there have been any changes and to adjust the value, if appropriate. It is also possible that a client may own a marketable piece of property with no equity value such as when encumbrances exceed the market value. In either instance, the property shall be deemed to have no value.

  3. Resources must be available. Resources are considered available when an applicant/recipient has a legal interest therein and the legal ability to make them available.

    1. A resource shall be considered unavailable when there is a legal impediment that precludes the disposal of the resource. A legal impediment is a barrier to a person’s ability to use or enforce some rights in property or at law. Property is considered unavailable due to legal impediment if the individual does not have the legal right to access property and the property cannot be sold on the open market or, for non-cash property, converted to cash. The refusal or failure of an individual to take actions to make property available, if within the individual’s legal rights to do so, does not constitute a legal impediment. For food assistance, also see 5200(6)(c).

      An example of a legal impediment may include property held pending final action by a court, such as in a divorce proceeding or boundary dispute as the individual does not have access to such assets. However, the refusal of a joint owner to sell property does not constitute a legal impediment, as the remaining owner has the right to sell their share. The existence of a lien is not considered a legal impediment, but rather an encumbrance against the property thereby reducing the countable value.

      For a legal impediment to exist, the following are required:

      1. Verification of the impediment. The impediment must be documented through copies of deeds, titles, wills, court orders, etc. in order to verify the status of the property. A detailed, written explanation of the situation may also be provided as evidence to support the alleged impediment.

      2. A reasonable attempt to overcome the impediment. Prior to establishing a legal impediment, the individual must demonstrate that reasonable steps have been taken to overcome the impediment. If such attempts have been made and verified and a resolution does not appear to be immediate, the property is considered unavailable. However, the individual must continue to pursue reasonable steps to overcome the impediment. Such actions must be scheduled and routine, with the frequency and nature dependent upon the situation. If it is determined the cost of overcoming the impediment would exceed the gain to the individual, the property is considered unavailable. However, should changes occur which might change the outcome, or result in the availability of the property, it may become necessary for the individual to again attempt to overcome the impediment. As applicants and recipients are required to cooperate and pursue potential resources , failure to do so may result in negative action as per KEESM 2124 (not applicable to food assistance).

    2. For all programs, if the individual owns excess nonexempt real property and such property is available, assistance shall be provided if the individual is making a bona fide and documented effort to dispose of the property. Evidence of a bona fide effort could include a current listing with a real estate company, statement from a realtor that the client is actively showing the property, for sale sign on property, and ads in the newspaper. The initial asking price should be consistent with the fair market value of the property and shall be regularly adjusted. Reasonable offers for the property should be accepted. Bona-fide effort activities should be reviewed on a semiannual basis.

    3. (Food Assistance Only) A resource shall also be identified as unavailable if its sale or other disposition is unlikely to produce any significant amount of funds for the support of the household. For the purposes of this provision, if the household's equity in the resource is less than half of the applicable resource limit ($1,125 or $1,625), then the sale or other disposition is unlikely to produce any significant amount of funds for the support of the household and the resource shall be exempt. Documentation is required for a resource to be excluded under this provision.

  4. Also to be excluded as unavailable resources are non-liquid assets against which a lien has been placed as a result of taking out a business loan and which the household is prohibited by the security or lien holder (creditor) from selling. Examples of such non-liquid assets could be land, crops, buildings, farm equipment, or machinery.

  5. Ownership of excess nonexempt personal property shall result in ineligibility.

    For all programs, resources shall also be considered unavailable to persons in shelters for battered persons and children if: (1) the resources are jointly owned by the shelter resident and members of the former home; and (2) the shelter resident's access to the value of the resource is dependent on the agreement of a joint owner who still resides in the former home.

  1. Ownership of property is determined by legal title. In absence of legal title, ownership shall be determined by possession. Note special provisions related to SSI in item (11) and to HCBS arrangements in item (9), (10) and (11).

    1. Joint Ownership - The pro rata equity value of jointly owned real property and the full equity value of jointly owned personal property shall be considered in the determination of eligibility except as noted in item (b) for food assistance.

      For a resource held jointly with an individual who is not a member of the household or assistance plan, the resource may be excluded from consideration if all of the following conditions are met:

      1. The individual can demonstrate the household/assistance plan member has no ownership interest in the resource;

      2. The household/assistance plan member has not contributed to the resource; and

      3. Any access to the resource is limited as acting as an agent for the other owner.

    2. Joint Owner Who Refuses to Comply (Food Assistance only) - A resource shall be totally inaccessible to the household if the resource cannot be practically subdivided and the household's access to the value of the resource is dependent on the agreement of a joint owner who refuses to comply.

  1. The resource value of property shall be the client's equity in the property. Equity is defined as fair market value less encumbrances.

  2. Resources of all persons whose needs are included in the assistance plan must be considered. For TANF, eligibility must be determined as though the unborn child was born and living. Thus, the resources of the father of the unborn child, if present, must be considered. For food assistance, the nonexempt resources of excluded and disqualified members count in their entirety to the remaining household members. The nonexempt resources of non-household members are NOT considered in determining eligibility.

  3. The total resources of both spouses shall be considered in determining the eligibility of either or both for assistance for if they are living together (including physical separation while maintaining a common life). For TANF and food assistance, this provision would also not be applicable when one or both spouses enter an institutional arrangement but would be applicable to HCBS arrangements if the care is being provided in the home and the couple continues to live together.

  4. The resources of an eligible or ineligible parent (including a minor parent) shall be considered in determining the eligibility of a minor child for assistance if the parent and child are living together. For TANF and food assistance, if the child receives HCBS services in the home and continues to live with the parent, the resources of that parent must still be considered.

    If a parent enters an institutional living arrangement (whether or not the facility is Medicaid approved) for other than a planned brief stay (not to exceed the month of entrance and the following two months), his or her resources shall be considered in determining the eligibility of a minor child only for the month the arrangement begins. For TANF, Child Care, and Food Assistance, if the parent receives HCBS services in the home and continues to live with the child, that parent's resources must still be considered.

  5. The resources owned solely by an SSI recipient (including a spouse or parent) are excluded from consideration. For food assistance, resources owned jointly with an SSI recipient are exempt, but considered available to the client for all other programs.

  6. A conversion of real and personal property from one form to another shall not be considered as income unless there are proceeds from a contract from the sale of property. A resource may change form and thereby result in the loss or gain of exempt status.
  7. A resource shall not be considered as property and as income in the same month. For instances when income received in a month is deposited into a checking or savings account, the value of such account for that month shall be determined by subtracting the total amount of income deposited from the lowest balance of the account. This is not applicable to spousal impoverishment assessments in which the highest value of the account in a month would be used.

    Also see item (7) for establishing the value of a checking or savings account.