(1) This rule governs the treatment of resources for purposes of all benefits in the TANF cash assistance program.

(2) In determining eligibility for TANF cash assistance, the department will count the equity value as defined in ARM 37.78.103 of all resources available to any member of the filing unit, unless there is a specific provision for the exclusion of the resource elsewhere in this rule or in federal law. A resource is considered available if actually available or when the applicant or participant has a legal interest in the resource and the legal ability to make it available for support and maintenance. In the case of qualified aliens, as defined in ARM 37.78.220, the income and resources of the alien's sponsor and the alien's sponsor's spouse must be considered in determining the eligibility of the alien. A sponsor is any person over the age of 18 who petitions for admission of an alien under section 213 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(3) If the total value of the filing unit's countable resources exceeds $3,000, the filing unit is ineligible for assistance. Eligibility is determined on the basis of the countable resources as of the date of application and the first moment of the first day of each month for which ongoing assistance is being determined. If the filing unit's countable resources exceed the $3,000 resource limit on the first day of the month, the filing unit is ineligible for that entire month, even if the value of the filing unit's countable resources drops below $3,000 later in the month.

(4) The following resources are not counted in determining eligibility:

(a) the filing unit's home, which is the usual residence of the filing/assistance unit, regardless of its value;

(b) household goods, clothing, or other essential personal effects, equipment, or other essential day to day items of limited value;

(c) tools, equipment, and other assets essential for the self-employment of a member of the filing unit;

(d) one burial space for each member of the filing unit and not more than $1,500 designated under a funeral agreement for burial arrangements for each member or irrevocable burial accounts or agreements;

(e) Agent Orange settlement payments;

(f) radiation exposure compensation payments;

(g) vehicles as follows:

(i) one vehicle regardless of its value; however, the equity in any additional vehicles must be counted as a currently available resource; and

(ii) all income-producing vehicles;

(h) Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 payments;

(i) the cash value of life insurance policies;

(j) restitution made to individuals of Japanese ancestry who were interned during World War II as per the Civil Liberties Act of 1988;

(k) restitution made to Aleuts who were relocated during World War II as per the Civil Liberties Act of 1988;

(l) major disaster and emergency assistance as per the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988;

(m) student financial assistance for post-secondary education made for attendance costs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act or Bureau of Indian Affairs Student Assistance Programs as per the Higher Education Technical Amendment Act of 1987. The exclusion lasts only as long as the recipient of assistance is continuously attending an institution of higher education, excluding regular school breaks such as semester breaks or summer vacations;

(n) earned income tax credit (EITC) advance payments and refunds;

(o) trust fund or similar legal document which cannot be accessed by the grantor, beneficiary or trustee for the purpose of providing for the health, welfare, maintenance or daily needs of the beneficiary;

(p) annuities from which payments are being made;

(q) funds which have been prorated as income, during the period for which they have been prorated;

(r) governmental disaster payments designated for restoration of a home damaged in a disaster if the household is subject to legal sanction if funds are not used as intended;

(s) funds which are held in an escrow account during the household's participation in a department of housing and urban development family self-sufficiency program; or

(t) senior benefit payments received by the Crow elders as per the Crow Boundary Settlement Act of 1994.

(5) The exclusions in (4) do not apply when members of the filing unit no longer have a personal ownership interest in the resource.

(6) If an individual would be required by ARM 37.78.208 to be included in the assistance unit except that the individual is not eligible because they are not a U.S. citizen or qualified alien, or they are a parole probation violator, fleeing felon, a person who has committed an intentional program violation, or a convicted drug felon as stated in ARM 37.78.206(3)(f) through (h) and 37.78.505, the resources of that individual will be counted in determining the assistance unit's eligibility and grant amount even though the individual's needs are not included in the grant.

(7) State and federal income tax refunds are a countable resource in the month received.

History: 53-4-212, MCA; IMP, 53-4-211, 53-4-601, 53-4-606, MCA; NEW, 1996 MAR p. 284, Eff. 1/26/96; AMD, 1998 MAR p. 3284, Eff. 12/18/98; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 746, Eff. 3/17/00; TRANS, from SRS, 2000 MAR p. 3414; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 15, Eff. 1/17/03; AMD, 2009 MAR p. 1020, Eff. 7/1/09.