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Can inheritances halt your SSI payments?

People in Georgia and elsewhere who receive Social Security Disability benefits should be aware that inheritances can jeopardize their ability to receive these government payouts, according to financial experts. If you are receiving Social Security only through retirement benefits, you will likely not be affected by measures governing large inheritances. If you are receiving SSD or Supplemental Security Income benefits, though, a careful financial analysis must be performed to ensure continued eligibility for the programs.

Social Security Disability is a program that provides cash benefits to disabled people throughout the nation without any age restriction. If you are disabled and cannot work, you are likely receiving the SSD version of the benefits, according to experts.

It is important to note that because SSD is not an income-dependent program, it is unlikely that an inheritance will compromise your ability to receive payments. Thus, they are probably safe if you receive money from another person's estate.

But SSI benefits are another situation entirely. That program provides financial benefits to disabled children and adults who have lower income and less access to medical and social resources. If you are on SSI, you are most likely covered by Medicaid, which is the government's medical assistance program for low-income populations. This is a means-tested program, which means that your income has an effect on your ability to receive the payments.

Even a one-time inheritance could permanently jeopardize your ability to receive SSI income from the government. You must report the inheritance immediately to the SSI program. If you have assets that are more than $2,000 as a single person, or more than $3,000 if you are married, you may no longer receive the benefits. An inheritance that propels your net worth above those thresholds may endanger your continued eligibility for SSI.

And while it may be a good thing to not need the benefits anymore, make sure you budget responsibly, so that you are not stuck in the same situation.

Source: The Times Reporter, "Inheriting assets, money may impact other benefits," James Contini, July 2, 2012

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