5500 - Vehicles


This section outlines policies for vehicle exemptions for all programs. The policies outlined below were adopted to assist individuals to seek and maintain employment or to obtain necessary medical care.


Leased vehicles are not considered a countable resource.

Exemptions involving licensed vehicles also include unlicensed vehicles driven by tribal members on Indian reservations not requiring vehicle licensing.

5510 Vehicle Exemptions for All Cash, Child Care and Food Assistance Programs - One licensed or unlicensed vehicle per adult in the household, regardless of the use of the vehicle is exempt. Exemptions apply to household members as well as to ineligible non-citizen or disqualified household member whose resources are being considered available to the household.


Additional vehicle(s) may be exempt if:


  1. the vehicle is used by household member(s) under age 18 for driving to employment, training or education for employment, or to seek employment.

  2. the vehicle is used primarily (over 50 percent of the time) for income producing

  3. the vehicle is annually producing income consistent with its fair market value, even if used only on a seasonal basis;

  4. the vehicle is necessary for long distance travel, other than daily commuting, that is essential to employment.

  5. the vehicle is used as the household's home.

  6. the vehicle is necessary to transport a physically disabled household member (limited to one vehicle per physically disabled household member).

  7. the vehicle is used to carry fuel for heating or water for home use when it is anticipated to be the primary source of fuel or water for the household.

  8. the value of the vehicle has an estimated return of $1,500 or less.

5511 How to Determine Resource Value of Nonexempt Vehicles (Cash, Child Care and Food Assistance) - To determine the resource value of nonexempt motor vehicles, including any car, truck, motorcycle, boat, personal water craft, recreational vehicle, recreational off highway vehicle, or all-terrain vehicle:

  1. Count in full, regardless of any amounts owed on the vehicle, the portion of the fair market value that exceeds $4,650.

  2. Evaluate such licensed, and all unlicensed vehicles, for their equity value which is the fair market value minus any amount owed, based on the average trade-in value in the Kelley Blue Book (resource available on the Internet and instructions for use are in Appendix item P-4) or other source approved by EES Policy less any amounts owed on the vehicle(s).

    1. For consistency in determining the trade-in value through the Kelley Blue Book, mileage should be calculated by a standard formula of multiplying the age of the vehicle times 15,000 miles per year.

    2. "Fair" should always be used for the vehicle condition and no equipment features should be reflected.

    3. If questionable or there is a difference of opinion regarding the value of the vehicle, by agency or client, an estimate from a reputable car dealer shall be used and the cost of the estimate, if any, shall be the responsibility of the agency; equity is determined by the sale value less any amounts owed on the vehicle.

    4. Such equity must be established in the month of eligibility determination (using the Kelley Blue Book for that month when applicable or for collectable vehicles or other vehicles use nadaguides.com) and shall be applied to allowable resources.

  3. Count as a resource only the greater of the two amounts if the vehicle has a countable fair market value of more than $4,650 and also has a countable equity value. For example, if the fair market value is $5,000 and the equity value is $1,000, the household shall be credited only with the $1,000 equity value and the $350 excess fair market value will not be counted.

Note: The case file should contain a screen print of the Kelley Blue Book information in situations where the resource value of nonexempt motor vehicles results in ineligibility.