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Inheritances could impact SSI eligibility

Whether it is because of an injury or an illness, living with a disability can be extremely challenging for individuals and families in Florida and elsewhere. Social Security disability can become very vital in these, being the only way an individual can meet his or her basic needs. The Social Security Administration provides SSDI benefits to those who have accumulated enough work credits. For those who do not have qualifying work credits, Supplemental Security Income may be available.

While SSI benefits can be very necessary and heavily relied on by recipients, some life events could alter a person's ability to keep these payments. Take, for example, an inheritance. If the inheritance is large enough, this can alter a person's income for SSI purposes. Based on current information by the SSA, a recipient of SSI could lose his or her eligibility if they currently have assets over $2,000 or have over $3,000 as a couple.

One should also note that a bequest could also impact a recipient's ability to keep his or her coverage of Medicaid. If a recipient's SSI coverage is impacted, his or her coverage by a government health care program will likely also be impacted. In fact, these rules impact millions of people.

In order to preserve SSD and SSI benefits while also protecting your rights to future inheritance, it is important to consider drafting a special needs trust. Financial planning, while not your first instinct when suffering a disabling injury or illness, could be a very critical and important step to take.

No matter if you were just recently approved for benefits or have being receiving them for years, it is important to consider what steps you could take to protect your rights. If you believe you could lose your monthly payments you deem necessary, seeking legal guidance could help you better navigate the matter.

Source: Bankrate.com, "For some Supplementary Security Income recipients an inheritance spells disaster," Liz Weston, Sept. 24, 2015

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