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How do resources affect getting SSI benefits?

Disabled individuals in New Jersey who meet the income requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under the Social Security Disability program are also required to meet certain requirements when it comes to resources they have available to them. Owning resources that go beyond a certain value can prevent the person from receiving SSI-related benefits. This is important to understand when applying for SSI benefits.

Anything that the person owns can be considered a resource. It includes cash, financial assets, real estate, a life insurance policy, vehicles, that which can be exchanged for shelter or food, and deemed resources. Deemed resources are properties that might belong to another -- a parent, a spouse, a sponsor for an alien -- and are calculated as belonging to the SSI applicant. A person who is under the age of 18 and lives with a parent can have up to $2,000 in deemed resources. A person under 18 who lives with both parents can have up to $3,000.

The resources will be part of the decision as to whether the person is eligible for SSI. Not all resources will be calculated. If the resources that are counted goes beyond the amount that is allowable at the start of a month, the person is ineligible to receive SSI in that month. If the resources are sold for their worth, the SSI can start again the next month after its sale. People can get benefits while they are trying to sell excess resources. For people 18 and older, the resource limit for an individual is $2,000; for a couple, it is $3,000.

The following does not count as resources with SSI: the home that the person lives in and its land; any household goods or personal effects like an engagement or wedding ring; burial plots; burial funds that are worth $1,500 or less; life insurance worth $1,500 or less; a vehicle that is used for transportation of the person or a member of the household; retroactive benefits for disability or SSI; scholarships, grants or gifts to pay for education for nine months after it has been received; and up to $100,000 in an ABLE account.

It is important to discuss your case with an attorney who has experience in helping clients through an array of situations related to Supplemental Security Income.

Source: ssa.gov, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resources," accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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