Holding on to Uncashed Checks

William Lindahl, MBA, CLPF & Sara Toor, M.A

Individuals generally think that if that they receive a check in their name and do not cash it, it will not be counted as income if they are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to the Code of Federal Regulations 20 CFR 416.1201.b., uncashed checks are liquid resources in that they are an available resource which can be converted to cash within 20 days.Any check received is considered income in the month the individual received it and whatever was not spent/used becomes a resource on the first of the following month. This is known as the First-of-the-month (FOM) Rule for the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Social Security Administration (SSA) “makes all resource determinations as of the first moment of a calendar month.”

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers that anything received in a month, regardless from any source, is income to an individual if it fits their definition of income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes:

“Income is any item an individual receives in cash or in-kind that can be used to meet his or her need for food or shelter. Income includes, for the purposes of title XVI, the receipt of any item which can be applied, either directly or by sale or conversion, to meet basic needs of food or shelter.”

Any item an individual receives in the current month is income for the current month only, but if it is held on to until the following month(s), it is subject to resource-counting rules.

For a better understanding please see the example below:

​Sally receives a check for $500 in the middle of July. She spends $100 and holds on to the remaining $400. Her income for July is $500. The August 1st evaluation of Sally’s resources will include the $400 that she held on to.

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