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What should I know about transferring resources for SSI benefits?

Oklahomans who are blind, disabled and 65 or older can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if their income and resources are below a certain level. A mistake people frequently make when they are considering applying for SSI benefits is to misunderstand the concept of resources and how that must be handled to get approved. There are various aspects of resources and how they can be transferred to ensure that the person is eligible to get SSI.

Cash and items that the person owns are considered resources, if they can be turned into cash. Obvious examples include bank accounts, a motor vehicle, homes and other forms of property. Since SSI is a need-based program, the resources will be a critical part of a person’s eligibility.

The resources cannot go beyond $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Selling or giving away the resource is categorized as transferring it. If the SSI applicant simply gives a certain amount in a bank account away, it is transferring it.

It is important to remember that the property cannot be given away or sold for less than its value, or there could be a 36-month period of ineligibility for SSI. The value will determine the length of time for which the person is ineligible.

When selling a resource for its market value, there is no ineligibility. The money accrued could lead to ineligibility though, if it goes beyond the limits.

An option that some might consider is placing resources in a trust. This could lead to ineligibility as the trust is a resource.

Transferring resources can also affect Medicaid. If a resource is given away for less than it is worth, some health care expenses might not be paid by Medicaid.

Meeting the resource requirements to be eligible for SSI benefits is not as simple as just getting rid of certain properties. It is important to understand how the value of those properties will factor in with the case.

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