Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

SSI eligibility: Property that does not count as resource

Many readers in Mobile, Alabama would know that the Social Security Administration offers Supplemental Security Income to individuals and couples who are disabled, blind or over the age of 65 years. The SSA, however, provides the benefits after it has determined that the resources of the applicant are limited and without SSI, they would not be able to meet even the most basic everyday expenses. The SSI, therefore, assesses the resources of an SSI claimant before acknowledging their eligibility to claim benefits.

According to the SSA, resources are assets owned by an SSI claimant, which can be converted into cash. Per 2019 rules, the SSA will pay SSI to individuals who have assets less than $2,000 and couples who have assets less than $3,000. It is important to remember, though, that all the assets that someone owns do not necessarily count as resources for the purpose of claiming SSI. Therefore, it is possible for some people who own businesses worth more than the aforementioned threshold amounts to also receive SSI.

The SSA never counts certain assets as resources when it is determining SSI eligibility. Examples include property, such as shops and vehicles, used to run a trade or business; personal property, such as tools and uniforms, used for work; and government-issued permits, such as for farming and fishing, used to earn an income. There are also resources that are often completely or partially excluded by the SSI. Examples include property used to produce goods and services meant for the family's consumption, such as land and equipment used to grow vegetables that the family eats; and non-business property that produce income, such as land, real estate or equipment rented out to someone by the SSI claimant.

Additionally, there may be certain other resources that the SSA does not take into account for determining SSI eligibility. However, making sure that the SSA's assessment of income is accurate is a major challenge for people claiming SSI benefits. This is because an inaccurate assessment can lead to a claim getting rejected. Taking these factors into consideration, it may be a wise decision for SSI claimants to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can make sure that all resource assessments are accurate.

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