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John Legal
John Legal, Attorney
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Experience:  Over 15 years legal experience.
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I am disabled and on SSI. My brother passed without a will

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I am disabled and on SSI. My brother passed without a will and myself and 5 other siblings will share his estate which totals $137,777.83. I have a few questions on how this affects my situation. I need to find out what options I have on accepting money from my late brothers inheritance.

I need to know how accepting the money would affect the SSI. I would also like to know if I can give my portion to a third person (not related) without it affecting the SSI.

If I accept the money, how much do I have to disclose to SSI about how I spend it? How long after the money is "spent down" will my SSI start again?

Thank you for your time,

Donna McConnell
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

You are receiving SSI, not SSDI, correct? Are you also receiving Medicaid?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

receiving SSI and Medicaid .. yes

Thank you for that information Donna.

Unfortunately, the inheritance, once received WILL cause you to loose SSI and Medicaid until you have spent down the money to less than $2,000. You SHOULD NOT disclaim your interest in the estate. If you disclaim your interest in the estate then that is considered a gift and the gift will cause you to be ineligible for SSI and Medicaid for a penalty period.

If you are under age 65 then you can get a parent, grandparent, guardian or court to establish a Special Needs Trust for you. This trust can receive the inheritance and hold the inheritance. The inheritance in the trust will not cause you to loose your SSI or Medicaid. The assets in the trust can be used for your extra needs which includes anything other than food and shelter item. The trustee will hold and control the funds and will spend them directly on items or expenses you have. You cannot be given cash from the trust but the trust can pay bills so long as they are not related to food and shelter. The catch to the trust is that Medicaid has to be the primary beneficiary of the trust upon your death. If there is money in the trust at your death then Medicaid will have to be reimbursed all the money that they have paid for your care.

If you are over 65 then the trust is not an option. However, you can purchase exempt assets like a house, car, furniture or other personal property. So long as the money you receive is spent to below $2,000 within the month of receipt you will not loose SSI or Medicaid.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

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