The cash value of an asset that is not legally available to the unit (inaccessible) is not counted against the asset limit. Exempt inaccessible assets only as long as they continue to be inaccessible. Document all inaccessible assets in the case record.
Jointly owned assets are inaccessible if they:
- are only available with the consent of the joint owner(s); and
- the joint owner(s) refuses to give their consent to sell the asset, or it is unsafe to contact the joint owner due to risk of domestic or sexual violence (See PM 21-01-05-b for acceptable proof of domestic or sexual violence).
The client must make all reasonable efforts to obtain the asset, including legal action.
As a result of a legal action (divorce, etc.), a court order may make an asset accessible to a client by giving it to them or by requiring that it be sold. An asset is no longer exempt when a court order makes it accessible, regardless of the intentions of the other joint owner(s). The client's prorated share of the asset's equity value is applied to the unit's asset limit.
For TANF cases, the value of real property made accessible by a court order can be deferred for 6 months if the client follows the policy guidelines (see PM 07-01-04).
A life insurance policy is inaccessible if it is:
- owned by someone other than the insured; and
- the owner does not live in the home; and
- the owner refuses to provide policy information. To be inaccessible, the client must obtain proof from the insurance company that information cannot be disclosed because neither the insured nor the client is the owner of the policy.