If you are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then you will know that it is very easy to lose this benefit. Due to this, it is very easy to become obsessed with not doing anything that could compromise your SSI.
One thing that you might expect to impact your SSI is the purchase of a house, so will you lose your SSI if you buy a house?
SSI is a disability benefit for those of the age of 65+, with visual impairment or blindness, and those with a medical condition that prevents them from working for at least one year, or a terminal diagnosis. So, no, buying a house will not cause you to lose your SSI. Let’s take a look at why.
No, you will not lose your SSI if you buy a house. As we have said, SSI is a disability benefit, so it does not prohibit individuals from buying a home.
In fact, there actually isn’t anything preventing an individual on SSI from using the money they get from this benefit to buy themselves a house. However, if you are on SSI, you are right to err on the side of caution when buying a house.
When you buy a house, that house becomes one of your assets. It is a fixed asset, but it is an asset, as you could always sell the home to liquidate it into cash.
If you only own one home, and it is the home that you live in, then this will not affect your SSI benefits. However, if you do not live in the home, or it is a second property, it will be considered an asset by the State.
In order to receive SSI benefits, you must fit the criteria, and also have less than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 if you are married.
All houses are worth more than $2,000, so if you were to buy a second home while on SSI, this would be considered an asset. So, owning this home would then make you ineligible for SSI. But remember, this only applies to a second home, not to the one that you own and are living in.
You might have read the last bit and been wondering how inheriting a house would impact your SSI.
Inheritance is common, and when a lot of people die, they pass a house down to their next of kin. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough, without that loss then leading to you losing your SSI benefit. So, can a person on SSI inherit a house?
Yes, nothing is stopping you from inheriting a house if you are on SSI benefit. However, owning that house could make you ineligible for SSI if you already own the house that you are living in.
This is because this second property is an asset, and the value of the house will almost always exceed the $2,000 asset limit for SSI benefit.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to choose between your inheritance and your disability benefit, as there are some ways around this.
The first workaround is to move into the inherited home and use this as your main address. However, this would require you to sell the home that you were previously living in.
Alternatively, you can have your inheritance placed in a special needs trust. A trust is not the same as an asset, so by doing this, you would still own the home, but it would not impact your SSI.
When you look at the eligibility criteria for SSI, there is nothing that dictates how many properties you can own while receiving this benefit.
However, the regulations of SSI mean that you can only own one property while receiving this benefit (except for property in a special needs trust).
The rules of SSI dictate that for an individual to be eligible for this benefit, they must not have more than $2,000 worth of assets. This increases to $3,000 if the individual is married.
When you apply for SSI benefit, there is something known as the ‘home exclusion’ which means that the home you live in is not considered an asset. But, any new homes would be considered an asset.
Due to this, you can only ever own one property while receiving SSI benefits. This is because almost all homes will exceed the $2,000/3,000 asset limits for SSI.
In short, no, you will not lose your SSI if you buy a house. This is assuming that you do not already own a home, so this new home will fall under the ‘home exclusion’ rule. However, if you already own a property, then you could lose your SSI.