The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Hotline Focus 08/10


Q. I have a TAFDC applicant who reported owning a vehicle. The vehicle’s fair market value in the Blue Book was listed at $11,750. My applicant’s equity in this car was $6,320. These value amounts were verified during the application interview. Since this applicant also reported that he had no other countable assets, his total countable asset amount was entered on BEACON as $1,750. Was this applicant’s total asset amount properly determined?

A. Yes. For TAFDC purposes, once you have determined the fair market value and equity value, according to 106 CMR 204.120(G), then you need to determine if there is any excess value associated with the vehicle. The excess fair market value amount for this car is $1,750 ($11,750 minus $10,000 fair market value regulatory limit), and the excess equity value amount for the car is $1,320 ($6,320 minus $5,000 equity value regulatory limit). TAFDC Program rules require that we count the greater excess value amount, which in this case, is derived from the vehicle’s fair market value.

Q. Now that my TAFDC applicant’s case was approved and he is scheduled for his first telephonic Eligibility Review, is he required to reverify the value of his car?

A. It depends. Generally, vehicles need to be reverified only at the time of a reported change or when there is information that a change has occurred affecting current eligibility. Since most vehicles depreciate in fair market value over time, there is generally no need to reverify the value of a client’s vehicle. See 106 CMR 702.330 for more information on the frequency of verification of assets and other TAFDC and EAEDC eligibility factors.

Q. Transitional Cash Assistance Program regulations specify that the value of a vehicle need not be reverified, unless there is a change in circumstances. What are some of the factors that I need to consider when determining whether or not the reverification of a client’s vehicle’s value is appropriate?

A. If, for example, your TAFDC client reports at his Eligibility Review that he has increased the equity amount in his car or that there are other countable assets that, combined with the car’s valuation, could put the client over the $2,500 asset limit, then it is appropriate to reverify the equity and/or fair market value of your client’s vehicle. See 106 CMR 204.110 for more information.

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