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What are the resource exclusions?

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2156. What are the resource exclusions?

In determining countable resources, certain exclusions are authorized by Title XVI of the Social Security Act, by other Federal laws, and by certain court cases. These exclusions are:

  1. An individual's home, regardless of value. This exclusion applies to a home owned by the individual or the individual's spouse if it is the principal place of residence. A home includes any adjacent land and related buildings on it;

  2. Restricted allotted Indian lands;

  3. Household goods and personal effects regardless of value;

  4. One vehicle, regardless of value, if you or a member or your household uses it for transportation (see §2157);

  5. Property of a trade or business without limit;

  6. Non-business property of a reasonable value that is needed for self-support;

  7. Resources of a blind or disabled individual that are needed to carry out an approved plan for achieving self-support (see §2177);

  8. Life insurance as described in §2159;

  9. Burial spaces and certain burial funds up to $1,500 as explained in §2160 and §2161;

  10. Disaster relief as described in §2162;

  11. Payments or benefits excluded by provisions of a Federal statute other than Title XVI of the Social Security Act;

  12. Title XVI or Title II retroactive payments as provided in CFR §416.1233;

  13. Housing assistance as provided in CFR §416.1238;

  14. Refunds of Federal income taxes and advances made by an employer relating to an earned tax credit as provided in CFR §416.1255;

  15. Shares of stock held by a native of Alaska in a regional or village corporation during the 20-year period in which, under the provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, such stock cannot be transferred;

  16. Payments received as compensation for expenses incurred or losses suffered as a result of a crime for nine months following receipt;

  17. Relocation assistance from a State or local government for nine months; and

  18. Dedicated financial institution accounts required to be established for the payment of past-due benefits to disabled children as provided in 20 CFR 416.1247.

  19. Grants, scholarships, fellowships or gifts provided for tuition, fees or other necessary educational expenses for 9 months after the month of receipt (effective 6/1/04).

Note: An eligible couple gets the same resource exclusions as an eligible individual. However, the resource limit is higher for an eligible couple.

Last Revised: Mar. 21, 2005


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Good Article on Social Security Benefits for Divorced People

This is a good article which outlines Social Security benefits for divorced people. The article refers to "divorced women", but it also applies to divorced men (especially if the woman had higher earnings).

Excerpt :

The law says a divorced woman, who was married to her ex-husband for a minimum of 10 years, is due essentially the same benefits as a woman who is currently married to her husband.

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