You may have heard one of your friends talk about Supplemental Security Income before. You assumed it was just for people who had nowhere else to turn—no family and no property to fall back on. You still have a place to live, so these benefits can’t apply to you, even if you have fallen on hard times. Right?
Not necessarily. Your eligibility for SSI is based on how much income you and your family earn, but there are many items that Social Security does not count toward your assets—including the house you live in.
Here are a few more assets that will not be counted toward your eligibility for SSI:
- The land your house is on
- Your car (in most cases)
- The first $20 of income you receive each month (no matter how it is gained)
- The first $65 of any income you earn by working each month
- Any wages or scholarships you receive (if you are a student)
- Life insurance policies that are worth less than $1,500
- The value of any burial plots that you are holding for your family
- Up to $1,500 (or $3,000 per married couple) in burial costs
- Any federal nutrition assistance benefits (food stamps)
Receiving SSI If You Are Working
You may have additional exemptions if you are disabled but still employed. Any special assistance devices, or costs that help you perform your job functions, will not be counted toward your income total—such as speech-to-text devices or the costs of taking public transportation to and from work.
Receiving SSI If You Live in Assisted Housing
If you cannot afford to live in your home or must move into an assisted residential facility, you may continue receiving benefits or even qualify for an increased payment. This applies if you are living in an institution that is providing you with an education or job training, a homeless shelter, an emergency facility, or a public or private institution that is not covered by Medicaid.
More Help Is Available!
While it may be bittersweet to discover that you qualify for SSI, take heart: you may also be able to receive benefits from other government programs, such as Medicare and nutritional assistance, that can help you get back on your feet. If you have a question about your benefits, send us an email and we will get back to you with additional suggestions on your case.