Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program. But what exactly does “needs-based” mean? When the Social Security Administration (Social Security) reviews your application for benefits, they make sure your income and resources fall below a certain limit. If you own too much or earn too much, your application will be denied. But Social Security does not count some of your property as resources. It’s complicated, but the following 24 resources give you a place to start.
#1. Your home and the land it is on.
Social Security does not count your home as an asset that could prevent you from getting benefits in most cases.
#2. One vehicle.
Here, the value of the vehicle does not count. As long as you or a member of your household uses the vehicle for transportation, it does not count against your resources.
#3. Household goods and personal effects.
Social Security does not count the contents of your home and your personal possessions against your resource limits.
#4. Certain life insurance policies.
Life insurance policies with a combined face value of $1,500 or less typically don’t affect your eligibility.
#5. Burial spaces.
Many people buy burial plots long before they need them. These are not countable resources.
#6. Burial funds.
In addition to buying space at a cemetery, many people buy pre-planned funeral packages.
#7. Property used for trade or business.
Property owned by your or your spouse for your own business or for a job you do for someone else is generally not counted.
#8. Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS).
People with disabilities or blindness may put money in this kind of account to provide future support.
#9. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts.
The money in these accounts is used for a disabled person’s future care.
#10. Retroactive SSI or Social Security Benefits.
Some SSI recipients receive retroactive benefits or back pay. Although this may come in a large lump sum, it does not count as a resource for up to nine months after receipt.
#11. Money set aside for educational expenses.
Social Security usually disregards grants, scholarships, fellowships, or gifts you receive to pay for your education.
#12. Money saved in an Individual Development Account (IDA).
This is a special bank account used to pay for education, a first home, or to start a business.
#13. Assistance with maintenance and home energy.
Benefits to help with maintenance and home energy are generally not countable resources.
#14. Cash for medical or social services.
Social Security will exempt this type of money if it is not considered income. However, it is only disregarded for one month.
#15. Health Flexible Spending Arrangements.
Money sitting in an HSA is usually not a resource.
#16. State or local relocation assistance payments.
Some people qualify for special programs for relocation. Social Security usually does not consider this type of assistance to be income or a resource.
#17. Crime victim’s assistance.
As with other assistance programs, crime victim’s assistance benefits are not a countable resource.
#18. Accounts dedicated to the support of disabled or blind children.
As this money is set aside to support someone who has a disability, it is not a countable resource.
#19. Earned income tax credit payments.
Social Security only disregards this for nine months.
#20. Disaster relief assistance.
As long as this assistance is not considered income, it is not a countable resource.
#21. Cash received for replacing an excluded resource.
For example, your home is not counted against your resource limit. If your home is damaged or destroyed, the money you receive to replace or fix it is not a countable resource.
#22. Federal tax refunds and advanced tax credits.
This resource is not counted for 12 months if received after January 1, 2010.
#23. A portion of compensation received for clinical trials.
Have you received money for participating in any clinical trials? If so, ask your attorney or Social Security representative whether it is an excluded resource.
#24. Some trusts.
Trusts are complicated, just on their own. Talk to an attorney to see if your trust is an excluded or counted resource.
Give us a Call About Your SSI Claim.
Social Security Administration rules and regulations are not easy to understand. It can help to have someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience helping clients like you. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.