There are SSA POMS governing the purchase of gift cards for persons receiving SSI. The problem meeting the new rules (partially excerpted below) is often cards do not have a legal prohibition on sale for cash.
SI 00830.522 Gift Cards and Gift Certificates Citations: Soc. Sec. Act, as amended, sections 1612(a)(2)(C), 1612(b)(3) and 1612(b)(7);
20 CFR § 416.1121(f).
1. Gift Cards/Gift Certificates as Income
The value of a gift card/gift certificate is income in the month it is received if the gift card/certificate:
a. Can be used to purchase food or shelter; or
b. Can be resold.
Absent evidence to the contrary, presume a gift card/certificate can be resold. For example, evidence to the contrary may include a legally enforceable prohibition on resale or transfer of the card imposed by the card issuer/merchant printed on the card. The value of the gift card/certificate is subject to the general rules pertaining to income and income exclusions. See SI 00810.410 for the infrequent or irregular income exclusion policy.
Any unspent balance remaining on a gift card/certificate is a resource beginning the month following the month the gift card/certificate was received. If personal property is obtained with the gift card/certificate, it must be evaluated.