WAG 07-04-09: Liquid Assets

PM 07-04-09

The following documents and records are generally available from the unit to verify liquid assets:

  • Bank notes
  • Stock certificates
  • Bond certificates
  • Mortgages/notes
  • Securities
  • Credit union statements
  • Bank statements

If a client cannot verify their liquid assets, ask them to sign a Form 46 Bank Inquiry, to request the needed proof from the institution. Examples of proof from an institution are:

  • Bank records
  • Credit union records
  • Judgment and lien records
  • Savings and loan records

Lump Sum Payment

A lump sum payment is an asset starting with the month of receipt. A lump sum payment may include an amount for the first month of an ongoing benefit, such as, but not limited to, an IPE or a Social Security retroactive payment. The portion of a lump sum payment, if any, that is for a current month of an ongoing benefit is not a part of the asset, but is income for the current month. 

new manual textSubstantial lottery or gambling winnings won in a single game as a cash prize of New Manual Textmore than $4,250 (before taxes or other amounts are withheld) is nonexempt. See PM 07-04-01. Only winnings won during the certification period or won at the time of the redetermination (REDE) or Mid-Point Report (MPR) are considered.

The gross amount of the winnings must be verified.

Eligibility for SNAP is lost immediately, regardless of categorical eligibility. SNAP benefits are canceled for the first month that can be effective. Allow for a 10 calendar day timely cancellation notice. Benefits are canceled even if the household has spent the money below the limit during the 10-day time frame.

Federal Tax Refunds

Federal tax refunds are exempt as an asset. There is no need to verify the federal refund. For non-categorically eligible SNAP units that report receipt of a Federal tax return, ask the unit what amount they received and subtract the refund from the total amount of assets prior to comparing to the asset limit. If the difference between the resources and the amount of the Federal tax refund is less than the resource limit, the unit remains eligible.

Example 1: On February 21, Ms. A applies for TANF and SNAP benefits for herself and her child. On the application Ms. A reports a savings account with $3400. At the interview, the worker asks Ms. A if she received a Federal tax refund in the last 12 months and she reports that she received a $1510 refund.

The worker subtracts the $1510 from the total assets of $3400 and is left with a balance of $1890. $1890 is below the TANF asset limit of $3000 for two people so Ms. A is eligible for TANF. The case is categorically eligible for SNAP so assets are exempt.

Example 2: Mr. S receives SNAP for his wife and two children. Mr. S is disqualified for an Intentional Program Violation so the unit is not categorically eligible for SNAP. During his March REDE interview, Mr. S reports a checking account with $2700. His worker asks if he has received a Federal tax refund in the last 12 months and he reports he received a $1600 refund.

The worker subtracts the $1600 from the total assets of $2700 and is left with a balance of $1100. Since Mr. S is not categorically eligible due to his IPV sanction, assets are nonexempt. The $1100 is below the SNAP asset limit of $2000 for three people so Mr. S is eligible for SNAP.

State Income Tax Refunds

State income tax refunds are considered an available asset.

new manual textEstablishment-Specific Gift Cards

Establishment-specific gift cards, such as a department store gift card, can be used to purchase goods and services at the establishment offering the card. These cards are restricted to the establishment offering the card and cannot be spent in the same manner as cash. When determining SNAP eligibility and the benefit amount consider establishment-specific gift cards exempt as a resource and exempt as income.

Example 1: Ms. B applied for SNAP on June 23, 2017. At the interview Ms. B states she will be starting a job in a few days. Her mother gave her a $100 Macy's department store gift card to purchase clothing for her new job. Since the gift card can only be used to purchased items at Macy's, it is exempt as a resource and exempt as income for SNAP.

Example 2:  Mr. T reports at his SNAP REDE interview that his house was damaged in a storm. He does not have home insurance but stated that he received a $500 Menard's gift card from his church to help with repairs. Since the gift card is specific to the Menard store only, it is exempt as a resource and exempt as income for SNAP.

new manual textCredit Card Company Gift Cards

One-time Receipt

Credit card company gift cards, such as American Express, MasterCard, or Visa, do not include the same limitations as gift cards for specific establishments and can be spent as cash in any store. Credit card company gift cards that are not reeived on a regular basis should be considered as cash on hand PM 07-04-09 for the purpose of the SNAP resource test for households that are not categorically eligible (PM 05-07-00), (PM 07-04-01-a). Use the available resources at the time of the household's interview to determine eligibility.

If the SNAP customer declares that they have a credit card company gift card, accept the customer's statement regarding the amount of money on the card without requesting verification, unless the information is questionable.

  • Example: Mr. J is renewing his SNAP REDE in June. The HSC asked Mr. J if he has any cash on hand, including a credit card company gift card that can be used the same as cash.  Mr. J reported that he turned 50 years old on June 1 and his daughter sent him a $50 Visa gift card for his birthday. Consider the $50 Visa card as a nonexempt resource and exempt as income.

Received on a Regular Basis

A credit card company gift card that is provided regularly and can be reasonably anticipated is counted as income. The amount of the credit card company gift card must be verified through the provider of the card. If attempts to verify the current amount on the card is unsuccessful because the provider failed to cooperate with the household and all other sources of verification are unavailable, determine an amount to be used for certification purposes based on the best available information, including the customer's statement and/or the gift card balance receipt.

  • Example: On March 6, Ms. K applied for SNAP for herself and her child. During the interview the HSC asked Ms. K if she had any cash on hand.  Ms. K stated she had just received a Visa Card of $125 from entering her baby in a photo contest in February sponsored by Pine River bank. She stated the grand prize was $1500. The prize money will be disbursed to her around the first of each month for the next 12-months in the amount of $125. Since Ms. K will be receiving this $125 credit card company gift card payment on a regular basis considered as monthly unearned income for SNAP. Ms. K provides a document from the bank showing the amount of her winnings.

Note: The assets of a categorically eligible SNAP unit are exempt (PM 05-07-00). See PM 07-04-01 for the treatment of substantial lottery or gambling winnings.