Friday, May 30, 2008

If I Receive an Inheritance, will I lose my Disability Payments?

In the comments section of a prior post, someone asked the question (paraphrased, of course) "If I receive an inheritance, will I lose my disability payments?"

In providing an answer to this question, I should clarify that I am a former disability examiner, not a former CR. What is a CR? CR stands for claims representatives and these are the individuals who work at social security field offices processing claims. A CR would actually be the kind of individual who would be best suited to answer questions regarding the payment of benefits. And in this case, the most qualified individual would be a title 16 (SSI) CR, (there are title 16 CRs who handle SSI claims and title II CRs who handle social security disability claims).

Fortunately, I know a number of Claims reps, both title II and title 16, so I was able to consult with one and provide the following answer to this question. Please bear in mind, however, any question regarding the payment of benefits should be directed toward a CR at a local social security office.

Why? Because that individual will be able to access your case information and provide the answer to your question and not just a generic once-size-fits-all answer. Therefore, the following answer is provided simply as a general answer to the general question "If I receive an inheritance, will I lose my disability payments?". It is not intended, nor should it be construed as a specific answer to ANYONE'S CASE. Remember, if you have a question regarding a case that involves the payment of benefits to YOU, you need to contact social security because this will be the only way to safely ensure that you receive an accurate answer.

Now, here's the general answer to this general question, as provided by a title 16 CR.

Depending on the stipulations set forth in the inheritance, this is how it would be processed. If it is just a basic inheritance, it will not be a problem for social security disability beneficiaries, because the title II program does not care about assets in any sense. However, if SSI is involved, it gets more complicated because with SSI a person is not eligible to receive benefits if they have at least $2000.00 in countable assets. Say he inherited $2000.00 in cash. The money would be counted as income the first month the inheritance was received and as a resource until the money is spent. So what does that mean? It simply means that after the first month of receiving the inheritance, any amount the person has that is in excess of $2000.00 will make them ineligible to get SSI. It also means that once the individual has spent money on legitimate things (remember to keep receipts), down to under $2000.00, which is the asset-resource limit for an individual (for couples, the limit is $3000.00), the individual can receive SSI again. The best advice, of course, for someone who has received an inheritance is to contact their local social security office so the issue of the inheritance can properly be addressed. The last thing a person wants to do is be charged with an overpayment.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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