Revision 20-0; Effective November 2019

2310 General Principles

Revision 20-0; Effective November 2019

A household must pursue all resources to which the household is legally entitled unless it is unreasonable to pursue the resource. Reasonable time (at least three months) must be allowed for the household to pursue the resource, which is not considered accessible during this time.

  • The resources of all CIHCP household members are considered.
  • Resources are either countable or exempt.
  • Resources from disqualified and non-household members are excluded but may be included if processing an application for a sponsored alien.
  • A household is not eligible if the total countable household resources exceed $3,000 when a person living in the home is aged or has disabilities and they meet relationship requirements or $2,000 for all other households.
  • A household is not eligible if their total countable resources exceed the limit on or after the first interview date or the process date for cases processed without an interview.
  • In determining eligibility for a prior month, the household is not eligible if their total countable resources exceed the limit any time during the prior month.
  • Consider a joint bank account with a nonmember as inaccessible if the money in the account is used solely for the nonmember's benefit. The CIHCP household must provide verification that the bank account is used solely for the nonmember's benefit and that no CIHCP household member uses the money in the account for their benefit. If a household member uses any of the money for their benefit or if any household member’s money is also in the account, consider the bank account accessible to the household.

2320 Countable Resources and Exemptions

Revision 23-2; Effective Sept. 22, 2023

Alien Sponsor’s Resources – If an entity chooses to include the resources of a person who executed an affidavit of support on behalf of a sponsored alien and the resources of the person’s spouse, the entity shall adopt written procedures for processing the resources of the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse.

Bank Accounts – Count the cash value of checking and savings accounts unless exempt for another reason.

Burial Insurance (Prepaid) – Exempt up to $7,500 cash value of a prepaid burial insurance policy, funeral plan or funeral agreement for each certified household member. Count the cash value exceeding $7,500 as a liquid resource.

Burial Plots – Exempt all burial plots.

Crime Victim’s Compensation – Exempt.

Energy Assistance Payments – Exempt payments or allowances made under any federal law for energy assistance.

Exemption: Resources and Income Payments – If a payment or benefit counts as income for a particular month, do not count it as a resource in the same month. If you prorate a payment as income over several months, do not count any portion of the payment as a resource during that time. If the client combines this money with countable funds, such as a bank account, exempt the prorated amounts for the time you prorate it.

Homestead – Exempt the household’s usual residence and surrounding property not separated by property owned by others. The exemption remains in effect if public rights of way, such as roads, separate the surrounding property from the home. The homestead exemption applies to any structure the person uses as a primary residence, including additional buildings on contiguous land, a houseboat or a motor home, if the household lives in it. If the household does not live in the structure, count it as a resource.

  • Houseboats and Motor Homes – Count houseboats and motor homes according to vehicle policy, if not considered the household’s primary residence or otherwise exempt.
  • Own or Purchasing a Lot – For households that currently do not own a home, but own or are purchasing a lot on which they intend to build, exempt the lot and partially completed home.
  • Real Property Outside of Texas – Households cannot claim real property outside of Texas as a homestead, except for migrant and itinerant workers who meet the residence requirements.
  • Homestead Temporarily Unoccupied – Exempt a homestead temporarily unoccupied because of employment, training for future employment, illness (including health care treatment), casualty (fire, flood, state of disrepair, etc.) or natural disaster, if the household intends to return.
  • Sale of a Homestead – Count money remaining from the sale of a homestead as a resource.

Income-Producing Property – Exempt property that:

  • is essential to a household member’s employment or self-employment (for example, tools of a trade, farm machinery, stock and inventory). Continue to exempt this property during temporary periods of unemployment if the household member expects to return to work;
  • annually produces income consistent with its fair market value, even if used only on a seasonal basis;
  • is necessary for the maintenance or use of a vehicle that is exempt as income-producing or as necessary for transporting a physically disabled household member. Exempt the portion of the property used for this purpose; or
  • for farmers or fishermen, the value of the land or equipment for one year from the date that the self-employment ceases.

Insurance Settlement – Count, minus any amount spent or intended to be spent for the household's bills for burial, health care or damaged or lost possessions.

Lawsuit Settlement – Count, minus any amount spent or intended to be spent for the household's bills for burial, legal expenses, health care expenses or damaged or lost possessions.

Life Insurance – Exempt the cash value of life insurance policies.

Liquid Resources – Count, if readily available. Examples include, but are not limited to cash, checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), notes, bonds and stocks.

Loans (Non-educational) – Exempt these loans from resources. Consider financial assistance as a loan if there is an understanding that the loan will be repaid and the person can reasonably explain how they will repay it. Count assistance not considered a loan as unearned income (contribution).

Lump-Sum Payments – Count lump-sum payments received once a year or less frequently as resources in the month received, unless specifically exempt. Countable lump-sum payments include, but are not limited to, retroactive lump-sum Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), public assistance, retirement benefits, lump-sum insurance settlements, refunds of security deposits on rental property or utilities, and lump-sum payments on child support. Exempt federal tax refunds permanently as income and resources for 12 months after receipt. Count lump-sum payments received or anticipated to be received more often than once a year as unearned income in the month received. Exception: Count contributions, gifts and prizes as unearned income in the month received, regardless of the frequency of receipt.

Personal Possessions – Exempt.

Real Property – Count the equity value of real property unless it is otherwise exempt. Exempt any portion of real property directly related to the maintenance or use of a vehicle necessary for employment or to transport a physically disabled household member. Count the equity value of any remaining portion unless it is otherwise exempt.

  • Good Faith Effort to Sell – Exempt real property if the household is making a good effort to sell it.
  • Jointly Owned Property – Exempt property jointly owned by the household and other individuals not applying for or receiving benefits if the household provides proof that they cannot sell or divide the property without consent of the other owners, and the other owners will not sell or divide the property.

Reimbursement – Exempt a reimbursement in the month received. Count as a resource in the month after receipt. Exempt a reimbursement earmarked and used for replacing and repairing an exempt resource. Exempt the reimbursement indefinitely.

Retirement Accounts – An account in which an employee or their employer contribute money for retirement. There are several types of retirement plans. Some of the most common plans authorized under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) Code are the 401(k) plan, Keogh, Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and a pension or traditional benefit plan. Common plans under Section 408 of the IRS Code are the IRA, Simple IRA and Simplified Employer Plan. A pension or traditional defined benefit plan is employed based and promises a certain benefit upon retirement regardless or investment performance.

Exclude all retirement accounts or plans established under:

  • Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Sections 401(a), 403(a), 403(b),408, 408A, 457(b), 501(c)(18);
  • Federal Thrift Savings Plan, Section 8439, Title 5, United States Code; and
  • Other retirement accounts determined to be tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Count any other retirement accounts not established under plans or codes listed above.

Trust Fund – Exempt a trust fund if all the following conditions are met:

  • the trust arrangement is unlikely to end during the certification period; and
  • no household member can revoke the trust agreement or change the name of the beneficiary during the certification period; and
  • the trustee of the fund is either a:
    • court, institution, corporation or organization not under the direction or ownership of a household member; or
    • court-appointed individual who has court-imposed limitations placed on the use of the funds; and
  • the trust investments do not directly involve or help any business or corporation under the control, direction or influence of a household member. Exempt trust funds established from the household’s own funds if the trustee uses the funds:
    • only to make investments on behalf of the trust; or
    • to pay the education or health care expenses of the beneficiary.

Vehicles – Exempt a vehicle necessary to transport physically disabled household members, even if disqualified and regardless of the purpose of the trip. Exempt no more than one vehicle for each disabled member. There is no requirement that the vehicle be used primarily for the disabled person. Exempt vehicles if the equity value is less than $4,650, regardless of the number of vehicles owned by the household. Count the value in excess of $4,650 toward the household’s resource limit.


$15,000Fair Market Value
- 12,450Amount Still Owed
$2,550Equity Value
- 4,650 
$0Countable Resource
$9,000Fair Market Value
- 0Amount Still Owed
$9,000Equity Value
- 4,650 
$4,350Countable Resource
  • Income-producing Vehicles – Exempt the total value of all licensed vehicles used for income-producing purposes. This exemption remains in effect when the vehicle is temporarily not in use. A vehicle is considered income-producing if it:
    • is used as a taxi, farm truck or fishing boat;
    • is used to make deliveries as part of the person’s employment;
    • is used to make calls on clients or customers;
    • is required by the terms of employment; or
    • produces income consistent with its fair market value.
  • Solely Owned Vehicles – A vehicle whose title is solely in one person’s name, is considered an accessible resource for that person. This includes the following situations:
    • Vehicles involved in community property issues that belong to the person whose name is on the title.
    • If a vehicle is solely in the household member’s name and the household member claims they purchased it for someone else, the vehicle is considered accessible to the household member.   

      Exceptions: The vehicle is inaccessible if the title holder verifies:   
    • That they sold the vehicle but have not transferred the title. In this situation, the vehicle belongs to the buyer. Note: Count any payments made by the buyer to the household member or the household member’s creditors (directly) as self-employment income.
    • That they sold the vehicle but the buyer has not transferred the title into the buyer’s name.
    • That the vehicle was repossessed.
    • That the vehicle was stolen.
    • That they filed for bankruptcy (Title 7, 11, or 13) and that the household member is not claiming the vehicle as exempt from the bankruptcy. Note: In most bankruptcy petitions, the court will allow each adult individual to keep one vehicle as exempt for the bankruptcy estate. This vehicle is a countable resource.   

      A vehicle is accessible to a household member even though the title is not in the household member’s name if the household member purchases, or is purchasing, the vehicle from the person who is the title holder, or if the household member is legally entitled to the vehicle through an inheritance or divorce settlement.   
  • Jointly Owned Vehicles – Consider vehicles jointly owned with another person not applying for or receiving benefits as inaccessible if the other owner is not willing to sell the vehicle.
  • Leased Vehicles – When a person leases a vehicle, they are not generally considered the owner of the vehicle because the:
    • vehicle does not have any equity value;
    • person cannot sell the vehicle; and
    • title remains in the leasing company’s name.   

      Exempt a leased vehicle until the person exercises their option to purchase the vehicle. Once the person becomes the owner of the vehicle, count it as a resource. The person is the owner of the vehicle if the title is in their name, even if the person and the dealer refer to the vehicle as leased. Count the vehicle as a resource.   
  • How to Determine Fair Market Value of Vehicles
    • Determine the current fair market value of licensed vehicles using the average trade-in or wholesale value listed on a reputable automotive buying resource website (i.e., National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book). Note: If the household claims that the listed value does not apply because the vehicle is in less than average condition, allow the household to provide proof of the true value from a reliable source, such as a bank loan officer or a local licensed car dealer.
    • Do not increase the basic value because of low mileage, optional equipment or special equipment for the handicapped.
    • Accept the household’s estimate of the value of a vehicle no longer listed on an automotive buying resource website unless it is questionable and would affect the household’s eligibility. In this case, the household must provide an appraisal from a licensed car dealer or other evidence of the vehicle’s value, such as a tax assessment or a newspaper advertisement indicating the sale value of similar vehicles.
    • Determine the value of new vehicles not listed on an automotive buying resource website by asking the household to provide an estimate of the average trade-in or wholesale value from a new car dealer or a bank loan officer. If this cannot be done, accept the household’s estimate unless it is questionable and would affect eligibility. Use the loan value only if other sources are unavailable. Request proof of the value of licensed antique, custom made or classic vehicles from the household.

2330 Penalty for Transferring

Revision 23-4; Effective Sept. 22, 2023

A household is ineligible if, within three months before application or any time after certification, they transfer a countable resource for less than its fair market value to qualify for county health care assistance. This penalty applies if the total of the transferred resource added to other resources affects eligibility.

Base the length of denial on the amount by which the transferred resource exceeds the resource maximum when added to other countable resources. Use the chart below to determine the length of denial.

Amount in Excess of Resource LimitDenial Period
$.01 to $249.991 month
$250.00 to $999.993 months
$1,000.00 to $2,999.996 months
$3,000.00 to $4,999.999 months
$5,000.00 to $5,000.00 and more12 months

If spouses separate and one spouse transfers their property, it does not affect the eligibility of the other spouse.

2340 Verifying Resources

Revision 23-4; Effective Sept. 22, 2023

Verify countable resources. Proof may include, but is not limited to:

  • bank account statements; and
  • award letters.

2350 Documenting Resources

Revision 23-4; Effective Sept. 22, 2023

On Form 3065, Worksheet, document whether a resource is countable or exempt and why resources are verified.