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How Resources are Valued

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

2154. How Resources are Valued

2154.1 How does SSA value resources?

We generally value both liquid and non-liquid resources at their equity value. Equity value is the price for which the item can reasonably be expected to sell for on the open market, in the particular geographic area, minus any encumbrances (e.g., a loan, a mortgage).

2154.2 Are there any exceptions to valuing cash?

Cash is always valued at its face value. The fact that you owe money does not mean that a specific amount of cash in hand or in a bank account is actually "encumbered."

2154.3 Are there any exceptions to valuing automobiles?

An automobile that cannot be totally excluded based on its use is valued at its current market value (see §2157). A subsequent vehicle is valued at equity.

Last Revised: Apr. 7, 2003


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