The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program awards benefits to disabled individuals with limited income and assets. Because this is a needs-based program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates each applicant’s income and assets to determine whether or not they are eligible. Here’s how assets are calculated to determine eligibility:
Limits On Assets For SSI Eligibility
First, it’s important to understand the limits that the SSA has set on assets for SSI applicants. The limit is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples, so you are not eligible for benefits if the SSA finds that the value of your assets exceeds this limit.
What Assets Does the SSA Consider When Determining Eligibility?
The SSA refers to assets as “resources.” Examples of resources include:
- Bank accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Life insurance
- Personal property
- Motor vehicles
Deemed resources are also considered assets. For example, let’s say a child is applying for SSI benefits. The SSA may consider the child’s parent’s assets when determining if the child is eligible for benefits. Then, the SSA may find that a portion of the parent’s assets should be counted as the child’s assets. This portion is a deemed resource that would affect the child’s eligibility for SSI benefits.
What Assets Are Not Included?
The SSA will not consider the value of certain assets when determining eligibility for SSI benefits. Examples of the assets that are not considered include:
- The home the applicant lives in
- Household goods
- Personal items such as engagement and wedding rings
- Burial funds
- Life insurance policies valued at less than $1,500
- One vehicle
- Scholarships, fellowships, grants, or gifts
- ABLE accounts up to $100,000
- Retroactive disability benefits
The SSA does not factor in the value of these resources when determining whether or not you are eligible for benefits.
What Should You Do If You’re Over the Limit?
If the value of your assets is over the SSI limit, you are not eligible for SSI benefits. Many people who are in this situation choose to sell certain assets that put them over the limit. If you sell resources to ensure you fall below the SSI limit, you may qualify for benefits after the sale has been made. However, you will not qualify unless you sold the resources for what they were actually worth.
Are you applying for SSI benefits? Let the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. help. Our attorneys will stand by your side from the start to the finish to ensure the application process is as simple and stress-free as possible. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.