Definition of Resources
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers resources to be certain types of assets owned by a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimant including cash, bank accounts, savings bonds, land, life insurance, vehicles, and personal property. Resources can also be "deemed" from a spouse, a sponsor of an alien, or a parent if those individuals are using their income and resources to support the SSI applicant. Currently, claimants who apply for SSI benefits can have a resource limit $2,000 per individual and $3,000 per couple, although there are many resources which are considered exempt by the SSA.
Exemptions are listed at www.ssa.gov and can include the claimant's primary residence, one vehicle, specific household goods, burial spaces, funds and life instance policies valued at $1,500 or less.
Why is there a resource limit for SSI? Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on the claimant's work record and contributions to the SSA system, SSI benefits are only for individuals who are blind, aged or disabled and who have very limited income and resources. Claimants with income and resources which are too high for SSI will be denied benefits.
Consider, however, there are legal ways to sell assets to qualify for SSI benefits, but selling assets should be discussed with the SSA. Also, a specific trust may be used to by relatives or friends to give assets to a disabled person who is receiving SSI benefits. Talk to an estate lawyer about the setting up a trust if you want to leave assets or income to a disabled relative.
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