January Question of the Month

January 20, 2016

Can I own a home and still receive Social Security Disability benefits?

The short answer is yes. You can receive Social Security Disability payments and own a home.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are not based on your resources or your family’s financial status. If you can prove you’re unable to work due to a disability which has lasted 12 months or more, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits, and if so, owning a home is not a problem.

A second kind of disability benefit program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is designed to help people with limited or no income or resources. For this program, overall family income and resources do matter. If you’re found to be disabled, you’re eligible for SSI only if your countable resources do not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple (if both members are eligible for SSI). Countable resources include cash, or items you own that could be used for food or housing if converted to cash.

Many items are exempt, and are therefore not counted toward the SSI resource limit even though they might be valuable. A house you own and live in will not usually be considered a countable resource under the rules governing SSI payments. However, a home you own but are not living in is a countable resource, which will almost always make you ineligible for SSI benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a long list of what it counts and what it doesn’t count as resources in determining SSI eligibility, which is all the more reason to get the right legal advice.

If you have more questions about Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, call Nash Disability Law for answers.