According to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) POMS: SI 01140.200, Access to Financial Institutions (AFI) is in motion in all fifty (50) states). What does this mean? The Social Security Administration (SSA) is able view and request an applicant’s bank account balance data via the eAFI subsystem and the e4641 website. Why? This will allow the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility and re-determinations.

When applicants file their claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they must give permission to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to use AFI to contact financial institutions in order to view and request any and all financial records that a financial institution may have on file for an applicant. Permission is needed from the applicant or deemor during the initial submission for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as well as for ongoing determinations for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

What if I Have a Joint Account?
If an applicant of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has a joint account and both owners of the account receive or are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes that the funds in the account belong to both the individuals in equal shares.

If an applicant or recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) owns an account with another individual who is not eligible or does not receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes that all the funds in the account belong to the applicant or individual who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

When is a Checking or Savings Account Exempt from Being a Resource?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that a checking or savings account does not meet the criteria of a resource if the account owner/applicant does not have the authority to withdraw funds from the account or is restricted to do so. Specific examples include accounts where:

  • The applicant/owner of the account is restricted to withdraw funds
  • If withdrawals from an account require permission from a third party
  • Restriction of use by court order
  • Special purpose accounts

More in depth examples of each can be found on the Social Security Administration (SSA) Website.

Remember, it is very important to report accurately and timely to the Social Security Administration regarding any wages, bank accounts, or resources obtained by applicants. If accurate information is not reported, eligibility for benefits may be negatively impacted.