Will Selling My Home affect my ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits?
Can I Sell My Home While Receiving SSI Benefits?
The big question I get is whether a claimant can sell their house and still continue to keep their supplemental security income aka SSI benefits. The answer is Yes, but its complicated. SSI is available to disabled adults and children who need income assistance or to individuals over the age of 65 with less than $2,000 in the bank or $3000 if married. Selling a home and moving in with a family member could affect your SSI eligibility as it would likely put you over the $2000 limit. Knowing how to manage additional income, such as the monies received after selling a home, is crucial to maintaining your SSI benefits.
If you must sell your home, this is what you need to know in order to keep your SSI benefits.
After the sale of your home, you have three (3) months to buy a new home. Its important that when buying a new home, you buy a home of equal or higher value to what you sold your current home for. This would help avoid you having more than $2000 in your bank account.
If, in that three (3) month period, you buy a new house and have less than $2,000 in the bank, you will retain your SSI benefits.
However, if in that three (3) month period, you fail to buy a new house, the monies you received off the sale of your home, that exceeds $2000 (or $3000 if married), will negate your SSI eligibility for each month that your assets exceed the amount permitted.
If your SSI benefits are ceased, in order to reinstate your SSI benefits, you will likely need to “spend down,” the funds that exceed $2000 (or $3000 if married). You will continue to spend down your monies until you have no more than $2,000. Keep in mind that you cannot spend down your money on anything you want. Its best to consult with an experienced lawyer on what you should spend your money on. Social Security will require a record of what was purchased with the proceeds of your home. So spending money at your local bar is a No No.
In addition, you normally have 12 months in which to “Spend Down” funds and apply for reinstatement of SSI benefits. Transferring or gifting money to a family member is not allowed. If you do not properly allocate funds within those 12 months, you may have to start from scratch and file an SSI claim all over again and meet all the requirements that come with it.
Its always best to consult with experienced legal counsel on this matter as they can advise you of the best option available for your circumstance.