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AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13266
Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Estate Law.
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Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing Estate law for 19 years and look forward to assisting you. I am working on your answer and will be back shortly.

Alexia Esq.
Forgive me, can you tell me if you are on 1) Social Security Disability or 2) SSI?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi again, and thank you.

Yes, any income to you, be it by inheritance, earned or unearned, etc., will effect your SSI amount AND/OR eligibility.

As a single person, we are allowed only $2000 in countable assets, $3000 if married. Cash, bank accounts, etc., all count. A house on the other hand, that we live in, is not counted. Also, after the first $20 in unearned income ( such as an inheritance), the remainder will whittle down your SSI, dollar for dollar, in the month it is "INcome". So, if you got a $20k inheritance in August, you'd be ineligible that month for SSI due to the income being to high that month. If in Sept. you did not have any income, that criteria wouldn't make you ineligible in Sept., HOWEVER, if you kept the $20k (or anything over $2000/3000), the countable asset rule would make you ineligible for every month you had too much countable resources. You would have to "spend down" (and NOT give away) your $20k very quickly. That sounds wasteful, I am sure - but there are things you can consider doing, in terms of spending. For instance, can you spend it on something that will pay you back for years - such as, paying it towards your mortgage, if you have one. Your mortgage will then be less (that means more for you later, of what moneys you have), but your house doesn't count, so paying for more of your house that way let's you keep your $20k in the form of house ownership. If you don't own a house, you can consider using the $20k to buy sometime, to put down on a place, rather than rent. Another uncounted resource you could buy is a car (you can own 1 car if you need it to get around to Dr's visits, etc.). You can also by personal items, appliances, etc. But remember that if you do, those items eventually break and no longer work, and you are not 'keeping' your $20k when you buy those things. And with a car, remember the cost of insurance, upkeep, etc. - it may not be affordable.

The other thing you may want to talk to a specialized attorney about is putting the money into a Special Needs Trust. You would no longer own it, the Trust would, and someone else would be in control of it (Trustee) and make sure it is only spent in the excusable ways that won't ruin your SSI - and you would be the beneficiary. You can use it for non-food, non-shelter, non-utility things - ie you can use it for things "supplemental" to what your SSI/Medicaid is used for. They can be expensive to set up, so you'd probably only want to do that if it were a lot of inheritance. And, it really must be drafted and set up by an expert in that area, because the trust document must comply with the U.S. Code to meet the requirements to make it not count against you (since normally you can't "give" away your money to remain eligible, this is an exception when you "give" it to this type of Trust).

So, as you can see, because you are receiving SSI and not SSD, there are major implications, and you will want to be sure to have this properly handled else you will typicially lose your SSI and Medicaid, at least temporarily.

Good luck, and I do wish you all the best.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.


Alexia Esq.

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