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Inheritances can cause you to lose Supplemental Security Income

Countless Americans who are over 65, blind or disabled and of limited means receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Most recipients are cautious not to make any missteps that may result in the government taking away this financial assistance. Few realize that the Social Security Administration (SSA) may take away their benefits, however, if they accept an inheritance.

You may have some options, though.

Is there an income requirement to receive Social Security Income?

The SSI program is means-tested. An individual must meet the age or disability requirements to qualify for such benefits and have $2,000 or less in assets. The limit that applies to couples is $3,000.

How might my inheritance impact my disability payments?

The SSA could take away your disability benefits even if you were to receive a small inheritance. All it takes is a modest amount that pushes you over the $2,000 individual or $3,000 couples asset threshold for them to take your SSI benefits away.

When do I have to report an inheritance to the Social Security Administration?

The SSA requires SSI recipients to report any inheritance no more than ten days following the month in which they receive it.

SSA representatives could assess you as much as a $100 reduction in benefits if you’re late or fail to report any inheritance that you receive. If the federal agency has reason to believe that you purposely neglected to let them know about it, then it could initially lead to a 6-month suspension in SSI payments.

Alternatives to having to reject your inheritance

The prospect of having to immediately spend down your inheritance to meet SSI’s income and resource limits can be disheartening, to be sure. It’s not the only option you have, though. Preplanning is critical when you are an SSI recipient. A special needs trust can be an ideal asset protection tool to place an inheritance into and still maintain your eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid and SSI.

A Supplemental Security Income attorney can answer any questions about your eligibility to apply for benefits and how to make sure that you don’t unnecessarily lose them here in Oklahoma City.

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