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John Legal
John Legal, Attorney
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I am receiving disability benefits now. I am 59. My father

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I am receiving disability benefits now. I am 59. My father granted me his house before he died. He died in August of 2011. I would like to sell his house but fear that the $30,000 extra income will affect my disability status. How can I be sure that this won't happen? What type of lawyer do I need to retain for this matter if necessary?

Welcome! Thank you for your question.


Are you receiving just disability or SSI as well?


How much do you receive each month?


Do you receive Medicaid benefits?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry that we got disconnected by phone. It is a problem with ATT. I hope that you will call back. xxxxxxxxxxx. If not perhaps we can continue the conversation by e-mail, or "insta chat" if that format is available.

The following is my response to your question using "copy & paste" from my saved file.


A payment of $19.00 ssi is deposited into my checking account with the $699.00 disability amount also. I receive benefits from Medicare and Medicaid for doctors visits and pharmacy and to pay "Humana" ins. for possible hospital stays. I also receive about $160.00 per month with the "Access" card (Food stamp card).


I was not talking to you by phone. I am not sure who you where speaking with but this site does not have a phone option. We can talk back and forth using this email/website.

Will that work for you? This is a pay site.

If you are okay paying for this information respond with a consent. The information you gave me is very helpful and I will post a response to your question if you agree.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry for the delay. My sister in St. Louis had to go to the emergency room for a possible heart attack. But wasn't a heart attack. She called me.


Sorry again, the Co. that called me was not "Just Answer".


Pertaining to your question. I have established an account with "Just Ask", giving my my credit card numbers and answering everything that your company wanted to know. Maybe you are not associated with billing. I spoke with "Jack" from "Just Ask" and said that you, (John Legal) were my representative, if that is the correct title. Living in S. Florida, I'm on EST. What is the latest time that I can expect a reply from you?

Is there anything additional that you need to know?

It has been a couple of hours since your last reply. I do not know when you leave work. I hope that you will be kind to tell me before you leave for the day.

Thank you Steven. Great. You are at the right place. Just Ask and Just Answer are the same site. I am happy to help you. I am working on typing out my response as soon as I post this information. Please let me know if you have follow up questions after you receive my answer.

I answer questions in my spare time so I am on all hours of the day, except overnight on EST.


As I understand it, you are 59, receiving SSI, Social Security Disability and Medicaid. Your father left you his house when he died. I assume that you are living in the home, if not please let me know in a reply.

What you need to know is that Social Security Disability is an insurance program. You paid into Social Security while working so when you became disabled that program is “covering you” based on what you paid in. You will receive this money ($699) regardless of how much you have in assets or other income so long as you are not able to work because of your disability. You could have inherited millions of dollars and still receive the disability.

Since you are not receiving enough income from Social Security Disability to bring you up to poverty level, you are receiving SSI ($19) to bring your income up to poverty level. To get SSI you have to have income less than $718 a month and assets of less than $2,000, not including your home, a car and your clothing and furnishings. Assuming that you are living in the house the home is not counted as an asset for SSI and Medicaid.

Since you qualify for SSI you also qualify for Medicaid benefits to cover your Medical expenses and Food Stamps to help with food.

If you sell the home and receive cash then you will be over the $2,000 SSI asset limit. When you go over that limit you will loose SSI, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. You will not loose the Disability but all the needed benefits that go along with the SSI eligibility.

You can sell the home and quickly purchase another property that you will live in, spend the money on personal property such as clothing, furniture and a car quickly or place the money in a Special Needs Trust.

If you sell the home and buy a new home then you can use the money to buy a new house. This would need to be done in the same money. The new house will not be counted toward the $2,000 limit.

If you sell the home and use the $30,000 you can spend it to below $2,000 within the month on personal property like clothing, furniture and a car.

Finally, if you sell the home you can put the proceeds in a Special Needs Trust. The cash will be protected and you will not loose SSI, Medicaid or Food Stamps. There would have to be someone else in control of the money in the trust and the money can only be used to pay for expenses other than food and shelter items. It can be used to pay car insurance, buy you a car, furniture, furnishings, entertainment or other things over time. The trust cannot give you cash, though.

Which option works the best, XXXXX XXXXX the option of keeping the home will have to be weighed and determined by you. I would suggest you discuss this with an Elder Law Attorney in your area. You can find one at

I know that I have given you a lot of information and it is complex. However, there are options here but they are difficult. An experienced attorney can walk you through this by sitting down with you.

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.

Please show your appreciation for my candid, accurate information by clicking VERY INFORMATIVE, OR the OR and positive feedback. You should only rate me if you are satisfied with the information I provided you. If you cannot rate me GREAT please do not rate. Give me a chance to make it right by clicking REPLY TO EXPERT.

I appreciate your question and repeat customers. You can request me by beginning your question with "Dear XXXXX..."

Thank you,


John Legal and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Did I answer your question sufficiently? If so I would appreciate a excellent rating. If you cannot rate me excellently, let me know what more I can help you with.

Thank you,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I'm sorry for the delay in our correspondence, and the delay in your service assessment.

You are obviously very well educated in my particular situation. I hope we can continue this thread to tie up "loose ends" concerning my case.

The first thing is the assumption that I lived with my father in the house that I wish to sell. Actually for many years he lived in his house alone as a single male, and I have my own house that I live in a few blocks from his. Both houses are free of any mortgages or liens. As you know I am on disability and supporting myself, repairs on two houses, lawn management, property taxes on both houses (in Florida we have a homestead exemption) My fathers death resulted the property tax being now doubled ! Though in the beginning I was preparing it for a rental, since then my house has been broken into, many things stolen and a safe was broken into and the $7000.00 that I received (in cash) from my fathers inheritance was stolen. Now you can see why I need to sell the house.

I hope you don't mind that I sent your letter of reply to my sister in St. Louis. It's always better to have a trusted advocate to help "sort out" a problem.

I went to the site that you suggested, naela, to find a lawyer in my area. I will further investigate the site later. I'm assuming that they don't do "pro bono publico" work. So having to pay for legal representation may not be possible for me.

You suggested a possible solution could be a Special Needs Trust. You suggest that there would have to be "someone else" in care of this trust. Could this be my sister? Or am I misunderstanding the concept of a Special Needs Trust.

I, at this time, have a very anxious buyer, actually the person that is living across the street from the house. We talked about a situation that we would have a contract that he pays a monthly rental amount in cash with option to buy. Is this a possibility? Do you know what the total amount of income known by the Federal Government, which would include the $8388.00 disability and additional income for that year could be before it would affect the disability?

Again I am sorry for being too sick to write back until now. I will again rate your expertise as excellent.

I know that some of the advise that you give may not be agreeable with the client. This is, of course, not the experts fault, and I will never under rate you for informing me about the law, whether I like it or not.

The date and time is, April 29 2013 at about 6:00 PM.

I hope you can continue to be my adviser.

Thank You, XXXXX XXXXX forward to your reply. Steven Mehler


Please know that I cannot represent you. I am happy to answer questions but I cannot take on a lawyer client relationship.

With that said, I was suggesting that you could go the option of a special needs trust. Your sister can be the trustee. This would need to be done by a lawyer to assure it is correct. While it will not be cheap, the lawyer can be paid out of the trust money (real estate sale proceeds) and it will more than pay for itself to protect your benefits.

If you make more than the $19 additional a month then you will loose SSI, Medicaid and Food Stamps. For this reason you cannot do the rental agreement. Your best and only bet is to talk with a lawyer and get the trust established and it can receive the sale proceeds. If the money goes to the trust you have no problem with the money effecting your benefits.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, as an answer to your statement, I realize I'm not being represented in a "client Lawyer" relationship.

This will probably be my last question concerning this matter. I hope that my "Excellent" ratings have reached "Just"

"Rate to finish will be excellent also."

This is an excerpt from the site "Free LIving Trust Information."

To be effective a disability trust must meet the following requirements:

"The trust must contain a "payback provision" which kicks in upon the benificiarys death and requires the trust to reimburse the state medicaid agency for benefits the beneficiary received while he was alive."

While I have asked many questions and gotten much information on my topic. As an expert you would understand this statement much better than I. This is not a statement from medicaid or any governmental agency. If you could give to me a layman's explanation of the above paragraph I would really appreciate this.

Just Answer is in your debt to have you as an associate with their company. I have enjoyed our limited conversations together. Will "Rate to Finish" as excellent, as always. Steven Mehler


That is a very good question. A special needs trust or disability trust does require that there be a Medicaid payback provision if the money that is being placed in the trust is your money. Since the home is your home, the proceeds from the sale are your assets. The federal government specifically allows you to protect that money by placing it into this type of trust. The Federal statute is 42 USC 1396p(d)4(a).

However, the government places a catch with this allowed protection. If there is money left in the trust when you die it must be used to pay Medicaid back for any money that the Medicaid program has used to pay for your medical care. That being said, the ultimate goal of these trusts are to spend the money over the course of your life for your benefit and for little or no assets to be remaining in the trust at your death.

This is confusing so feel free to ask if I am not explaining well enough.

By the way: Hope you are feeling better.
John Legal and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


The details of a special needs trust are indeed complicated for me. But for you and lawyers that deal in this sort of thing, it is probably an everyday job. You are correct that I need an attorney that will be able to draw up the legal contract. My sister suggested that I get a book or through a kendal, called "Special Needs Trusts" by Stephen Alias, attorney, and Kevin Urbatach, attorney. She found it on "Amazon".

If you make a final reply to this letter, I've been of the assumption that when I reach 62, then the disability turns into retirement and then I could sell the house without penalty. Perhaps I'm wrong about this too. I know I should talk directly to medicaid about this, but when my house was robbed in October, they took my wallet and all the cards inside of it. The C cards, driving license, everything has been replaced except my medicaid card. Everytime I call medicaid it's a computer telling me to call back later. Looking at peoples reviews of Florida Medicaid on the internet shows that they are getting the same result.

Perhaps it's not allowed, but knowing that you are indeed knowledgable on this subject, you may have a friend that is a lawyer or an associate that does business in South Florida.

Thank you for all of your help. Life sure gets difficult at times and it's nice to have corresponded with you. Steven Mehler

It is possible that you would not need Medicaid at age 62. However, if you still qualify for Medicaid then your supplemental insurance and medication will be covered. You may find that even after 62 Medicaid is beneficial. However, the cost will be significantly less if you decide to sell the house and terminate Medicaid.

That book is a very good book, by the way.

John Legal and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you