Supplemental Security Income recipients are given benefits based on financial need. As such, any significant changes in their financial situation, for better or worse, can affect their benefits. For any changes, good or ill, it is important that a recipient report the change to the Social Security Administration. Inheritances can often result in a significant change in resources. If those resources put an SSI recipient over the asset threshold, he or she would not be eligible for any benefits after that point. Still, it is wise to report the change, as any benefits paid in that situation must be paid back to the Social Security Administration.
There are certain rules that inheritance-recipients should keep in mind. SSI calculations exclude certain assets. Two prominent ones involve car and home ownership. An SSI recipient can own one car that does not affect SSI benefits. Any additional car is a countable asset. Therefore, an SSI recipient that either inherits a car or uses some of the inheritance to purchase a car can shield that inheritance from SSI calculations, so long as that is the only car he or she owns. Still, in that situation, it bears repeating that this change must be reported to the Social Security Administration.
Likewise with home ownership, an SSI recipient can own a home that they live in without affecting his or her SSI benefits. Thus, a person who inherits a sum of money sufficient to purchase a home can invest in that real estate, and assuming he or she moves there, would not see a change in his or her SSI benefits.
In conclusion, it is imperative that an SSI recipient promptly inform the Social Security Administration of any changes in their financial circumstances. Discussing changes with a Social Security Disability Attorney is also wise, as they can provide additional guidance as events warrant.
By Adam Kachelski