(a) Home Property
. The home and surrounding property necessary for the operation of the home is exempt regardless of the value. For purposes of the home resource exclusion, a home is defined as any shelter in which the individual has an ownership interest and which is used by the individual as his/her principal place of residence. The home may be either real or personal property, fixed or mobile.
- (1) The home as described in (a) of this Section may be retained without affecting eligibility during periods when it is necessary to be absent for illness or other necessity. The Department has not set a definite time limit to the client's absence from the home. When it is determined that the client does not have a feasible plan for and cannot be expected to return to the home, the current market value of the property is considered in relation to the reserve.
- (2) Once the property is determined to be a resource, the client is responsible for converting it for use in meeting his or her needs according to 340:10-3-4. If the client falls or is unwilling to take steps necessary to convert the resource for use in meeting current needs, continuing eligibility cannot be established. The client is advised as to the effective date of closure and of his/her right to receive assistance when the resources are within the maximum reserve provided other conditions of eligibility continue to be met.
- (3) When a recipient sells his or her home with the intention of purchasing another home or when an insurance payment for damage to the home is received, a reasonable period of time is given to use the money for the intended purpose. A reasonable period of time is considered to be not in excess of a 90-day period. Extensions beyond the 90 days may be justified in special instances when completion of the transaction is beyond the client's control.
- (4) At the point a recipient decides not to use the funds for the intended purpose, an evaluation is made in relation to policy on resources disposed of while receiving assistance or its use in meeting current needs.
- (5) A home traded for another home of equal value does not affect the recipient's eligibility status. If the home is traded for a home of lesser value, the difference may be invested in improvement of the new home.
(b) Temporary absence from the home. Absences from home for trips, visits, and hospitalizations does not affect the home exclusion as long as the individual intends to return home. An absence of this nature of more than six months, however, may indicate that the home no longer serves as the principal place of residence. However, if the home is used by an eligible or ineligible spouse or dependent relative during the individual's absence, it will continue to be considered the individual's principal place of residence so long as the spouse or dependent relative continues to live there and the absence is alleged to be temporary. For purposes of this reference a relative is defined as: son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, in-laws, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, half-sister, half-brother, niece, nephew, grandmother grandfather, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, stepsister or stepbrother.