Could selling off my assets endanger my SSI benefits?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Social Security Disability

Receiving Supplemental Security Income may give you the financial assistance you need when you are not able to work. You want to be careful not to take any actions that would endanger the approval of your SSI or cause Social Security to revoke your benefits. This may happen if you transfer some of your personal resources to another person.

The Social Security Administration website explains what resources are and why giving or selling them to another person or party may cause you to lose your SSI.

Defining resources

Cash is one example of a personal resource, including the money you have in your checking and savings accounts. Resources also include things you can turn into cash or sell for cash. Common examples include vehicles or property you own like real estate. Stocks and bonds also count since you can cash them.

Some of your assets do not count as resources towards SSI. These would include your personal home, the vehicle you or your household uses for transportation, burial funds, and life insurance that is $1,500 or less.

Transfers of resources that endanger SSI

To be eligible for SSI, resources counted for SSI cannot have worth in excess of $2,000 for you as an individual or $3,000 for you and your spouse as a couple. You may run into problems if you try to reduce your resources to get under the resource limit and qualify for SSI.

Social Security may deny you SSI or revoke it if you give away or sell a resource for less than it is worth. Examples may include giving cash to a person or selling a car for a much lower price than its true value. Social Security may bar you from receiving SSI for up to 36 months depending on the value of the resources you have sold or given away.

Valid transfers of resources

It is possible to transfer some of your countable resources without endangering your SSI. You might sell a car or property for its market value. However, you may reap an amount that elevates your resource limit over the threshold. Putting resources into a trust also carries risks since Social Security still counts many trusts as personal resources.

If you anticipate needing SSI, be cautious about making major transactions. Social Security will look at your situation carefully to be sure you are not attempting to acquire benefits that you do not actually need.

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