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SSI: Eligibility: Resource (Asset) Requirements


In order to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the amount of your resources must be less than $2,000 if you are single or $3,000 if you are married. SSI does not count many valuable assets in determining the amount of your resources.

Resources are counted or excluded as of the first moment of a month.

SSI Does Not Count The Value Of These Resources

When determining the value of your resources, SSI does not count the value of:

  • The home you live in, no matter how expensive it is - whether the home is owned by you or your spouse.
    • If you sell a residence, the proceeds don't count for three months if used to purchase another home.
  • Ordinary household furnishings with an equity value of less than $2,000 per item. Collections count as one item so it is not the value of each part of the collection, but of the whole collection. Social Security generally relies on your declaration of the value of personal property rather than attempt an independent evaluation.
  • Personal items required because of your physical condition (such as wheelchairs or prosthetic devices).
  • One car, or other vehicle, on the assumption that it is needed to get you to and from medical appointments or that it is used for work.
  • Property of a trade or business worth up to $6,000, possibly more based on income derived from the property.
  • Non-business property, of a reasonable value, which is necessary for self-support.
  • If you are disabled or blind, resources which are necessary to fulfill an approved Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). PASS is a program that allows people who receive SSI to set aside income or resources for a specified period of time for the purpose of achieving future self-support. For example, you could theoretically set aside money to start a business. To learn more, see PASS.
  • Burial plots or spaces for you and your immediate family.
  • A burial fund of up to $1,500 ($3,000 per couple), plus any interest which accrues, as long as it is set aside in a specifically designated account and cannot be used for any other purpose.
  • Life insurance policies:
    • With no savings feature (generally called "cash value") -- no matter how large the amount of the death benefit.
    • With a cash value and a death benefit of $1,500 or less. If the total death benefit of your life insurance policies is $1,501 or more, the cash value counts as a resource. (Note: Life insurance and burial funds are alternative burial options. If both are chosen, the total value cannot exceed $1,500.)
  • Trusts IF:
    • Neither the principal or income is available to the SSI recipient to meet needs for food, clothing or shelter.
    • The SSI recipient is not the trustee.
    • Self-settled trusts comply with Medicaid payback requirements.
  • In general, items that cannot be converted within 20 days to pay for food, clothing or shelter. Applicants can receive SSI benefits while attempting to dispose of non-liquid excess resources as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements. Applicants have nine months to dispose of real property and 3 months to dispose of personal property. There may be extensions granted for good cause.
  • Other resources which don't apply to the general population such as relocation assistance, assistance received on account of a major disaster, crime victim's compensation, assets of disabled children under age 18, and Earned Income Tax Credit. For more details, see: offsite link.

SSI Counts Each Of These Resources

  • Checking and savings accounts. Joint accounts are subject to a rebuttable presumption that all funds in the account belong to the SSI applicant/recipient.
  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
  • Pension funds.
  • Promissory notes.
  • Cash value of life insurance policies with a death benefit in excess of $1,500.
  • Real estate beyond the residence you live in, such as a second home, rental property or vacant land.
  • Vehicles in addition to the one that does not count as a resource.
  • Jewelry (not counting one wedding and one engagement ring), art, and other collectibles if the reasonable value exceeds $2,000 per item. Note that because collections count as one item, it is not the value of each part of the collection, but of the whole collection that counts.
  • Resources of a live-in spouse (whether legally married or not) may be deemed available to an otherwise SSI eligible person. Pension funds of a spouse are not counted. Only one set of exclusions applies to a family unit (one home, one car etc.) Resources of a spouse are no longer included starting the month after the month the couple stop living together.
  • Resources of a parent or stepparent living in the same household of a child under age 18. So do resources of a sponsor to an alien.

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