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What should I know about valuing for SSI benefits?

For New Jersey residents who are applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they must know that the resources they own are critical in the determination as to whether they are eligible for these benefits or not. Just because a person has been approved for SSI benefits or they are already getting them does not mean the benefits are indefinite. On the contrary, the Social Security Administration will check the person's resources each month to ensure that they have not gone beyond what they can have and still receive benefits. If there is a disagreement regarding valuing resources or some other concern, it is wise to have legal assistance.

With the determination of resources, it is done the first minute of each month. It is based on the person's assets, the value of those assets and if they are excluded. If the resources a person has increased in value or there are additional resources that the person acquired or replaced with a resource that was not subject to exclusion, the increase will be counted. This could affect SSI benefits, how much is received and if the benefits can continue. If there is a decrease in the value of the resources or the person spent a resource or replaced a resource with a non-excluded one, this too will be calculated on the first of the month.

When items are received by the SSI recipient in cash or in kind in a month, they will be assessed under the rules to count income. If these are retained and the person has them at the start of the next month, they will be counted as a resource. If the person sells, exchanges or replaces a resource, that will not be considered income, but it will be viewed as a resource. If there were resources that were not counted before because they had been sold in the same month they were received, they will be considered a resource. There is a specific set of rules for resources sold for less than market value.

Resources might seem to be a secondary consideration when seeking Supplemental Security Income benefits, but having too many resources can result in denied SSI claims or a reduction in benefits. Understanding the rules for resources is important.

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