SSR 81-36: SECTIONS 1611(a)(1)(B) and 1613(a)(1382(a)(1)(B) and 1382b(a)) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME -- RESOURCES -- REFUNDABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT FUND
20 CFR 416.1201, 416.1205(a), and 416.1210
- The claimant applied for supplemental security income (SSI benefits as a disabled individual in October 1979. Although he is no longer employed by the Federal Government, the claimant has $5805.57 he contributed to the Civil Service Retirement Fund which is refundable to him upon request. Held, under 20 CFR 416.1201, the cash that the claimant has in the Civil Service Retirement Fund is a resource; therefore, the claimant is ineligible for SSI benefits because his resources exceed the statutory limit.
The issue is whether the claimant has nonexcludable resources in excess of $1500.
The claimant, who is 54 years old, applied for SSI benefits as a disabled individual on October 15, 1979. His application was denied both initially and upon reconsideration because he has $5805.57 in contributions credited to his civil service account plus interest. The claimant is no longer employed by the Federal Government, and his money may be withdrawn by him at any time up to one month before he reaches age 62. If he does withdraw his money, however, he will lose his right to an annuity at age 62.
The claimant testified that his retirement fund should not be counted as a resource because forcing him to withdraw his contributions now would cause a severe hardship on him later. It would not only force him to use all his funds, but it would deprive him of much more in annuity payments. The claimant stated that by not withdrawing his contributions now and having an annuity paid to him in monthly payments starting at age 62, he would receive all of his contributions within two to three years; after that, the Government would bear the full cost of the annuity for the rest of his life. The claimant believes that withdrawing his money from the retirement fund would defeat the purpose of the Federal civil service retirement program and the SSI program. He feels that it would preclude him from becoming self-sufficient, and that in his condition, he would receive SSI benefits for the rest of his life.
Section 1611(a)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and § 416.1205(a) of Regulations No. 16 provide, in part, that an aged, blind, or disabled individual with no spouse shall be eligible for benefits under title XVI of the Act if his nonexcludable resources do not exceed $1500 and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Section 416.1201(a) of Regulations No. 16 provides that resources mean cash or any 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.
Section 416.1201(b) of the Regulations No. 16 provides in part that liquid resources include "cash on hand, cash in savings accounts or checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, promissory notes, mortgages and similar properties."
Section 1613(a) of the Act and § 416.1210 of Regulations No. 16 set forth the resources of an individual which may be excluded.
Under § 416.1201(b) of Regulations No. 16, the amount in the claimant's retirement fund, which he may withdraw at any time, constitutes a liquid resource. There is no provision in the law or regulations that provides for exclusion of these funds from countable resources. Therefore, the claimant is ineligible for SSI benefits because his resources exceed the $1500 limit in section 1611(a)(1)(B) of the Act and § 416.1205(a) of Regulations No. 16.