§ 416.1208. How funds held in financial institution accounts are counted.

(a) General. Funds held in a financial institution account (including savings, checking, and time deposits, also known as certificates of deposit) are an individual's resource if the individual owns the account and can use the funds for his or her support and maintenance. We determine whether an individual owns the account and can use the funds for his or her support and maintenance by looking at how the individual holds the account. This is reflected in the way the account is titled.

(b) Individually-held account. If an individual is designated as sole owner by the account title and can withdraw funds and use them for his or her support and maintenance, all of the funds, regardless of their source, are that individual's resource. For as long as these conditions are met, we presume that the individual owns 100 percent of the funds in the account. This presumption is non-rebuttable.

(c) Jointly-held account—(1) Account holders include one or more SSI claimants or recipients. If there is only one SSI claimant or recipient account holder on a jointly held account, we presume that all of the funds in the account belong to that individual. If there is more than one claimant or recipient account holder, we presume that all the funds in the account belong to those individuals in equal shares.

(2) Account holders include one or more deemors. If none of the account holders is a claimant or recipient, we presume that all of the funds in a jointly-held account belong to the deemor(s), in equal shares if there is more than one deemor. A deemor is a person whose income and resources are required to be considered when determining eligibility and computing the SSI benefit for an eligible individual (see §§ 416.1160 and 416.1202).

(3) Right to rebut presumption of ownership. If the claimant, recipient, or deemor objects or disagrees with an ownership presumption as described in paragraph (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section, we give the individual the opportunity to rebut the presumption. Rebuttal is a procedure as described in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, which permits an individual to furnish evidence and establish that some or all of the funds in a jointly-held account do not belong to him or her. Successful rebuttal establishes that the individual does not own some or all of the funds. The effect of successful rebuttal may be retroactive as well as prospective.

Example:  The recipient's first month of eligibility is January 1993. In May 1993 the recipient successfully establishes that none of the funds in a 5-year-old jointly-held account belong to her. We do not count any of the funds as resources for the months of January 1993 and continuing.

(4) Procedure for rebuttal. To rebut an ownership presumption as described in paragraph (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section, the individual must:

(i) Submit his/her statement, along with corroborating statements from other account holders, regarding who owns the funds in the joint account, why there is a joint account, who has made deposits to and withdrawals from the account, and how withdrawals have been spent;

(ii) Submit account records showing deposits, withdrawals, and interest (if any) in the months for which ownership of funds is at issue; and

(iii) Correct the account title to show that the individual is no longer a co-owner if the individual owns none of the funds; or, if the individual owns only a portion of the funds, separate the funds owned by the other account holder(s) from his/her own funds and correct the account title on the individual's own funds to show they are solely-owned by the individual.

[59 FR 27989, May 31, 1994]