Home Ownership/Purchase Of A Home By A Trust
Home as a Resource
If the trustee of a trust which is not a resource for SSI purposes purchases and holds title to a house as a home for the beneficiary, the house would not be a resource to the beneficiary. It would also not be a resource if the beneficiary moved from the house. The trust holds legal title to the house, therefore, the eligible individual would be considered to be living in his/her own home based on having an “equitable ownership under a trust.” If the trust is a resource to the individual, the home is subject to exclusion under 81 01130.100.
An eligible individual does not receive in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) in the form of rent-free shelter while living in a home in which he/she has an ownership interest. Accordingly, an individual with “equitable home ownership under a trust” (see 81 01120.200F.1.) does not receive rent-free shelter. Also, because we consider such an individual to have an ownership interest, payment of rent by the beneficiary to the trust has no effect on the SSI payment.
Receipt of Income from a Home Purchase
Since the purchase of a home by a trust for the beneficiary establishes an equitable ownership interest for the beneficiary of the trust, the purchase results in the receipt of shelter in the month of purchase that is income in the form of ISM (see 81 00835.400). This ISM is valued at no more than the presumed maximum value (PMV).
Even though the beneficiary has an ownership interest in the home and, if living in the home, does not receive ISM in the form of rent-free shelter, purchase of the home or payment of the monthly mortgage by the trust is a disbursement from the trust to a third party that results in the receipt of ISM in the form of shelter. (See 81 01120.200E.1.b.)
– Outright Purchase of a Home
If the trust, which is not a resource, purchases the home outright and the individual lives in the home in the month of purchase, the home would be income in the form of ISM and would reduce the individual’s payment no more than the PMV in the month of purchase only, regardless of the value of the home. (See SI 01120.200E.1.b.)
– Purchase by Mortgage or Similar Agreement
If the trust, which is not a resource, purchases the home with a mortgage and the individual lives in the home in the month of purchase, the home would be ISM in the month of purchase. Each of the subsequent monthly mortgage payments would result in the receipt of income in the form of ISM to the beneficiary living in the house, each valued at no more than the PMV (see SI 01120.200E.1.b.).
– Additional Household Expenses
If the trust pays for other shelter or household operating expenses, these payments would be income in the form of ISM in the month the individual has use of the item (see SI 00835.350). Countable shelter expenses are listed at SI 00835.465D.
If the trust pays for improvements or renovations to the home, e.g., renovations to the bathroom to make it handicapped accessible or installation of a wheelchair ramp or assistance devices, etc., the individual does not receive income. Disbursements from the trust for improvements increase the value of the resource and, unlike household operating expenses, do not provide ISM. (See SI 01120.200E.1.c.).
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