540.3 Countable Resources

The CAO will count all resources not specifically excluded.

7 CFR § 273.8

540.31 Liquid Resources

Liquid resources are cash and resources that can be easily converted to cash. Countable liquid resources include:  

7 CFR § 273.8(c)(1)

NOTE:  Formal trusts with accompanying trust documentation count as a resource. (See Section 540.5.)

NOTE:  The CAO will count the actual value of funds accessible to the household when determining eligibility.


540.32 Non liquid Resources

Non-liquid resources are resources that cannot easily be converted to cash. Countable non-liquid resources include:

7 CFR § 273.8(c)(2)


540.33 Inaccessible Resources

Inaccessible resources are resources the household cannot access or convert into cash.  This includes jointly owned resources,  property and vehicles (that would net $1500 or less if they were sold), and resources that are not freely accessible or restricted.  It also includes resources the household is unaware of having.  However, once the household becomes aware that resources are legally available to them, the resources must be counted from that time forward. This is the case regardless of the manner in which the household is informed.


540.34 Deemed Resources

All resources of a disqualified or ineligible household member and a portion of the resources of a noncitizen sponsor and his or her spouse are considered available to the SNAP household, even if the household member does not share ownership and the owner does not make the resource available. See Chapter 522 to determine how resources are deemed from noncitizen sponsors.

7 CFR § 273.11(c)

The CAO will consider all countable resources available to the SNAP household from the following ineligible household members :

7 CFR § 273.11(c)(1)

7 CFR § 273.11(n)

The household must report the resources of a disqualified person and verify any questionable information.

7 CFR § 273.11(c)(1)(i)

Reminder:  The CAO must not include the ineligible person when determining the resource limit.

7 CFR § 273.11(d)

Reminder:  The CAO must not deem the resources of ineligible students.


540.35 Vehicles

All vehicles licensed or unlicensed, owned by a household member or an ineligible alien or disqualified household member whose resources are countable, represent a countable non-liquid resource to the SNAP household, unless excluded. (See Appendix A of this chapter)  

NOTE:  Leased vehicles are not owned. They are excluded from any resource determination..

The CAO will first determine whether a vehicle is totally excluded. If a vehicle is totally excluded, the CAO will not count its value.

7 CFR § 273.8(e)(3)

540.351 Totally Excluded Vehicles

The CAO will exclude one licensed or unlicensed vehicle per household, regardless of its use, equity, or fair market value. The CAO will not count a totally excluded vehicle.

7 CFR § 273.8(f)(2)(ii)  and Pub L. 106-387, Section 84

540.352 Excluded Licensed Vehicles

The CAO will exclude the following licensed vehicles:

7 CFR § 273.8(e)(3)(i)

Example: Mr. X. owns a taxi and operates a taxi service during the week. He also drives his taxi to church on Sunday and to Florida each year on vacation. The taxi is excluded.

NOTE:  If the vehicle is no longer used in farming because the household member has stopped farming, the vehicle continues to be excluded as a resource for one year from the termination date.

Example: Mr. Y. owns and uses a four-wheel-drive vehicle for transportation. In winter he attaches a snowplow and clears driveways and parking lots.

NOTE:  For the vehicle to be totally excluded, Mr. Y.’s earnings for snow removal must be comparable to those of other persons providing the same services in the same area with similar equipment.

NOTE:  Vehicles owned by households without heating fuel or water piped into their homes will receive the exclusion without having to meet further tests about the nature, capabilities or other uses of vehicles..

   Example: A salesperson’s vehicle.

NOTE:  This exclusion is limited to one vehicle for each physically disabled person. The vehicle does not need to be specially equipped or used primarily by or for the physically disabled person. The physical disability may be temporary (for example, a broken leg), be ongoing (for example, a respiratory illness), or require ongoing treatment (for example, chemotherapy) and does not have to meet the requirements in Chapter 510.

540.353 Determining the Fair Market Value of Non-Excluded Vehicles

The CAO must evaluate the fair market value of each licensed vehicle that is not excluded.

7 CFR § 273.8(f)

The CAO will use the wholesale value from an official used-car valuation book to determine the fair market value of a vehicle.  Values listed at the following Web sites are also acceptable:

Reminder:  CAO workers must include in the case notes the book or Web site that was used to figure out the vehicle's value.

The CAO will not increase the basic value by adding the value of low mileage, optional equipment, or special equipment for a handicapped person.

Exception:  If the household does not agree with the book value, it must provide proof of the vehicle's value from a reliable source, such as a car dealer or a bank.

If the vehicle is not listed in the car validation book, the CAO will accept the household's estimate of the vehicle's value. If the CAO has reason to question the estimate, and if the value of the vehicle may affect eligibility, the household must get an appraisal from a car dealer or produce other evidence of its value. The CAO will accept a tax assessment or a newspaper advertisement which lists the selling price of similar vehicles.

If a new vehicle is not yet listed, the CAO must get the wholesale value by other means, such as by contacting a car dealer who sells that type of vehicle.

NOTE:  For licensed antique, custom-made, or classic vehicles, the household must provide proof of the value from a reliable source.

If the household owns more than one vehicle, the CAO must appraise each vehicle individually. The CAO will not add the fair market value of two or more vehicles together to reach total fair market value in excess of $4,650.


540.354 Computing Excess Fair Market Value

The CAO will compute the excess fair market value of each licensed vehicle by subtracting $4,650 from its fair market value. The remainder is the excess fair market value and may be counted toward the household’s resource limit.

7 CFR § 273.8(f)(ii)


Vehicle 1
2000 Mazda 626


Vehicle 2
1999 Dodge Neon











Excess value



Excess value


Important:  Do not combine $7,390 and $4,350 before deducting $4,650. Only $2,740 is to be considered a resource, as long as there are no encumbrances (amount currently owed, excluding interest) on the vehicles.

NOTE:  If there are encumbrances, the CAO must compute the equity value on the vehicle to determine whether the excess fair market value or the equity value will be used as the resource amount.


540.355 Computing Equity Value

The CAO will evaluate remaining licensed and unlicensed vehicles for their equity value unless they are exempt from the equity-value test.

7 CFR § 273.8(f)

The following vehicles are exempt from the equity value test:

NOTE:  Training or education includes any school attendance that will lead to a high school diploma, including vocational and technical classes.

Example: A two person household consisting of one adult and one student age 17 has three vehicles. One vehicle is exempted. The CAO must exempt both from the equity value test.  However, the CAO must count the excess fair market value for the remaining two vehicles.  (See Section 540.354 for computing excess fair market value).

NOTE:  Mini motorized bikes are classified as unlicensed vehicles. Enter the value on the vehicle screen.

The CAO will compute equity value by subtracting encumbrances (amount currently owed, excluding interest) from the fair market value.

The CAO will count the equity value (fair market value minus encumbrances) whenever the equity values is over $1,500.


Example:                                                                           2000Mazda 626



amount owed


equity value


The CAO would count the equity value of this vehicle because it is greater than the excess fair market value determined in Section 540.354.

Reminder:  For each vehicle, the CAO must count only the excess fair market value or the equity value, whichever is greater.


Reissued January 29, 2016,  replacing June 1, 2012