Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual





Table of Contents


·         Agent Orange Settlement payments are not countable resources.  Veterans who are eligible under the program receive disability payments each year they are disabled during the life of the program.  Lump sum payments received by survivors of deceased veterans are also not countable resources.


·         Basic maintenance items that are essential to daily living such as clothing, furniture, appliances, and other similar essential household goods and equipment of limited value are not countable resources.


·         Bonds are countable resources.


·         Burial agreements are not countable resources.


·         Burial plots, grave sites, crypts, mausoleums, urns, or other repositories are not counted as resources.


·         Burial policies are not countable resources.  A burial policy is different from a burial agreement.  It is usually purchased from a funeral home for a certain premium per week or month.  These policies pay only for burial costs at the death of the person named on the policy and have no cash value.


·         Cash on hand is a countable resource.


·         Checking accounts in a bank, credit union or other financial institution are countable resources.


·         One-time Crisis Intervention Program payments to assist with utility costs from the Crisis Intervention Program are not countable resources.


·         Disqualified Individual - Resources of an individual who is disqualified because of an Intentional Program Violation are countable resources.


·         Payment made through the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, as amended, for volunteer services are not countable resources.  These programs include Foster Grandparents, Service Corps of Retired Executive (SCORE), Active Corps of Executives (ACE), and other programs under Title II and Title II of the Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-13, as amended), and VISTA payments.

·         Earmarked Resources - Any governmental payments that are specifically designated for the restoration of a home damaged in a disaster and rental assistance during the restoration period, are not countable resources.  Such funds include those made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Individual and Family Grant Program, or disaster loans or grants made by the Small Business Administration.


·         Payments made under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for flood mitigation activities shall not be counted as income or resources of the property owner.


·         Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) are not a countable resource.


·         Earned Income Tax Credit lump sum tax refunds are not counted as a resource in the month of receipt and the month following receipt.  They will be countable in the third month following receipt.


·         Energy assistance payments or allowances made by a federal, state, or local agency or by a charitable organization are not countable resources.  This exclusion includes payments made through the Department of Health and Human Services, Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and the Community Services Administration’s Energy Crisis Assistance and Crisis Intervention programs.


·         An entrepreneurial account placed with a micro-lending intermediary program with a balance of $5000 or less is not counted as a resource.  See the Low-Income Entrepreneurial Escrow Accounts chapter for details on these accounts.


·         Equipment used in a self-employment enterprise used to produce income is not a countable resource.


·         Payments made under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund to certain veterans or spouses of veterans who served in the military of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II are not counted as a resource.  (Bulletin 33, FA-09-19)


·         Benefits from food programs, including WIC, the value of food stamps and the value of school lunches or other school food programs, are not countable resources.


·         The home and lot owned or being purchased and occupied by the Families First assistance unit and the property surrounding the home which is not separated from the home by intervening property owned by others is not counted as a resource.  Public rights of way, such as roads and/or other public easements, which run through the property surrounding the home, do not affect its classification of homestead property.  Temporary absences from the home do not affect the classification and/or exemption of the home if the AU has not acquired another home and intends to return to the exempt home at a specified time.


·         The value of an Individual Development Account (IDA) of $5000 or less is not counted as a resource.  See the Individual Development Account Demonstration chapter for additional details regarding these accounts.


·         Resources of an ineligible alien are countable only when the ineligible alien is the parent of the AU child(ren).


·         Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Keogh plans, and 401K plans of $20,000 or less are not counted as a resource.  If the amount of money in an IRA, Keogh plan, or 401K plan exceeds $20,000, only the amount in excess of the $20,000, minus any penalty for early withdrawal, is a countable resource


·         Life insurance policy cash values are not countable resources.


·         Insurance settlements for casualty/disaster loss to the home are not countable as resources for three months following receipt of the payment if the AU intends to reinvest it in a homestead.


·         Payments to Native American Indians are not countable resources.  These payments include:


-       Alaska Native Claims Payments and Sac and Fox Indian Claim Payments  received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlements Act. P.L. 920203, Section 21 (a) and the Sac and Fox Indian Claims Agreement P.L. 94-189;

-       Payment for Certain Indian Tribes that are derived from certain submarginal lands of the United States which are held in trust for certain Indian tribes; and

-       Payments from Disposition of Funds of Ottawa Indians under P.L. 94-540.


·         Non-liquid assets used as collateral for a business loan are not countable resources if the lien agreement specifically prohibits the assistance unit from selling it.


·         Non-Recurring lump sum payments and retroactive payments are countable resources.  Examples of retroactive payments are: RSDI, VA, Unemployment benefits, and Workman’s Compensation.  Examples of non-recurring lump sum payments are: windfalls, cash gifts, prizes, awards, income tax refunds, tax rebates and credits, refunds of security deposits on rental property or utilities.


·         Pension Funds that are not accessible to the AU except at retirement or at termination of employment are not countable resources.  If the employment is terminated and the pension becomes accessible to the AU, it is then a countable resource.




·         Buildings, land and recreational properties, such as boats, vacation homes and mobile homes that are not homestead property are countable resources.  (These are called non-exempt properties.)  Income producing real property is a countable resource.


·         Non-Exempt property, unless there is a good faith effort to sell, the property is a countable resource.  Real property, that is not homestead property, that the AU is making a “good faith effort” to sell, is not a countable resource if the AU signs an agreement to repay the Families First benefits received during the period of exemption.  This exemption will not exceed nine months.  If the net proceeds of the sale plus other resources in the AU at the beginning of the exclusion period exceed the resource limit, there is an overpayment of Families First benefits.  To qualify for this exemption the AU must :


-       List the property for sale with a real estate agency.

-       List the property for sale at auction with an auction company.

-       Advertise the property for sale on a continuous basis in the newspaper which serves the area.


If the real property is sold during the nine-month exemption period, see the Procedures section for instructions about repaying the Families First benefits.  Any proceeds remaining after repayment of the Families First benefits are countable resources.


If the real property remains unsold at the end of the nine-month exclusion period, reevaluate the state of the property.  The county staff must decide whether or not to declare the property as an inaccessible resource on the basis that it could not be sold.  Each situation must be given careful consideration and handled on a case-by-case basis.  This decision should be based on whether a good faith effort was made to sell the property and if a reasonable offer to buy the property was declined. 


If the decision is made to count the property as a resource, the benefits that the AU received during the entire period would be an overpayment subject to the usual overpayment collection procedures.  If the decision is made that the resource is inaccessible, do not count the property as a resource.


·         Payments made under P.L. 104-204 to children of Vietnam veterans who were born with spina bifida are not counted as a resource.


·         Proceeds from the sale of exempt real and personal property if there is no intent to reinvest the proceeds in other exempt real or personal property are countable resources.  If there is intent to reinvest the proceeds in other exempt real or personal property, the proceeds will not be counted for three months after the sale.  Any exemption extensions for longer than three months require approval from the Families First Policy unit in the State Office.  Extensions will depend on the factors beyond the AU’s control to reinvest the proceeds, such as illness, delays in construction, etc.


·         Real property that the AU demonstrates that it cannot sell because it has only a life estate, use rights, lifetime occupancy or dower rights is not a countable resource.


·         Relocation Assistance Payments received under Title II of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 are not countable resources.  These payments include:


-       Payments to persons displaced as a result of the acquisition of real property.

-       Relocation payments to a displaced homeowner toward the purchase of a replacement dwelling.  Such payments are made only to a displaced owner who purchases and occupies a dwelling within one year following displacement.

-       Replacement housing payments to displaced persons who are eligible for a homeowner’s payment.


·         Savings accounts in a bank, credit union or other financial institution are countable resources.


·         Savings certificates are countable resources.


·         Stocks are countable resources.


·         Student grants and loans are not countable resources for Families First AU members, stepparents or parents of a minor in the home.


·         Trust funds - If a Families First applicant/recipient claims that a trust fund is inaccessible, the individual will have 60 days from the date of application/ reapplication to have the resource made available.  If the caretaker is willing to try to have the trust made available, he/she may be included in the assistance unit.  If the caretaker does not follow through within 60 days, he/she will be removed from the assistance unit.  If the caretaker is attempting to have the trust made currently available, assistance will continue (if otherwise eligible) pending the court decision.


-       The court’s decision as to accessibility of the trust fund, as written in either a new or amended order, is binding.

-       The caretaker will not be required to have trust funds made currently available in the following situations and these trusts are not countable resources:


§  If a trust is established by a will.  The terms of the trust will be followed as they stand.

§  If a trust is producing regular income, which is available to the beneficiary, the body of the trust will not be considered a currently available resource, but the income will be countable income.

§  If a trust has been set up for a minor (usually until age 18) and the amount of the trust account is $5000 or less, the caretaker will not be required to attempt to make the trust accessible.  In most instances, the legal fees involved in such an attempt would erode the value of the trust to the extent that it would not be cost effective to bring it to a state of availability.




·         The equity value of one vehicle that is under $4600 is not a countable resource.


·         The equity value in excess of the $4600 plus the entire equity value of any other vehicle, licensed or unlicensed, is a countable resource. 


·         (See PROCEDURE for the procedures to use to determine the countable resource amount of a vehicle.)


Victims Compensation Awards paid on behalf of minors are not countable resources if:


·         The minor’s parent, caretaker relative or guardian entered into an agreement with the State Claims Commission as to the uses to be made of the funds and signed such an agreement.


·         The funds are deposited in accordance with the agreement.


·         The funds remain on deposit or are used only according to the terms of the agreement.


·         Any funds withdrawn and used for goods/services not specified in the agreement will be treated as income in the month received.


·         Victims Compensation Awards paid to adults (age 18 or older) in their own behalf are countable resources.




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