Rescinded 1986

SSR 79-12: Title XVI: When to Consider Financial Instruments and Similar Properties as Liquid Resources

SSR 79-12


To define further the term "liquid" resources for purposes of the supplemental security income (SSI) program.


Sections 1611(a), 1613(a)(3), and 1613(b) of the Social Security Act, as amended; Regulations No. 16, Sections 416.1201, 416.1205, 416.1210, 416.1240, and 416.1242.


Under SSI regulations, section 416.1201(a), a resource is defined as "... cash or other liquid assets or any real or personal property that an individual (or spouse, if any) owns and could convert to cash to be used for his support and maintenance. If the individual has the right, authority or power to liquidate the property or his share of the property, it is considered a resource. . . ." Liquid resources are defined in section 416.1201(b) as "those properties that are in cash or are financial instruments which are convertible to cash. Liquid resources include cash on hand, cash in savings accounts or checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, promissory notes, mortgages and similar properties." Nonliquid resources are defined in section 416.1201(c) as including all other properties, both real and personal property.

The regulations distinguish liquid and nonliquid resources in order to identify classes of property for which the Secretary should prescribe different periods of disposition and which should be treated differently for purposes of conditional payments, under section 1613(b) of the Act.

Instructional materials provide a 20-day period (not including holidays and weekends) within which financial instruments must be converted into cash and thereby be considered liquid resources. This rule applies also to the includable cash surrender value of life insurance. The time frame was established as a result of various efforts to obtain information from knowledgeable sources (e.g., brokerage companies, insurance companies) about the longest segment of time that would be required for a financial instrument, such as mutual fund shares, to be converted into cash. This information is not included in current regulations.


  1. Liquid resources are those properties that are in cash or are financial instruments which are convertible to cash within 20 work days. (All national, State, and local holidays, as well as weekends, are excluded from the 20-day period.) Some examples of financial instruments which may meet the definition of liquid resources are stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, promissory notes, mortgages, cash surrender value of life insurance, and similar properties. A series E savings bond may be an exception since it is not convertible cash until 60 days have elapsed from the date of issuance. That is, if more than 20 work days remain before the bond can be cashed, it does not meet the test of short-term convertibility for SSI purposes and, therefore, is not a liquid resource.

  2. All other financial instruments that cannot be converted into cash within 20 work days are considered nonliquid resources for SSI purposes.


Claims Manual Sections 12515ff and 12631.

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