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What Happens if You Inherit Money While on Social Security Disability?

November 2, 2022

Inheriting money can be life-changing. But what if that inheritance negatively impacts your eligibility for the social security benefits you need?

An elder law attorney in Florida can help you determine if your inheritance will jeopardize your benefits and help you navigate your options.

Read on to find out what happens if you inherit money while on Social Security Disability – while receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Now, what's really interesting about this question is, it can be tricky because there's more than one disability program and they have very different implications if you inherit money. And they're both commonly referred to as disability and lots of people say they have social security disability without knowing which of these programs they're on.

So, I'm going to tell you kind of how to tell the key differences and then what the consequences are for inheriting money, coming into money, selling a house, or getting a personal injury settlement.

There is SSDI and SSI. SSDI is a program that gives you access to your retirement early. You have worked a certain number of quarters, you have paid into the system, and you become disabled – and prior to reaching age 65. You are then entitled to the SSDI program.

If you waited about two years or exactly two years, with several exceptions, but you wait two years, you are then entitled to Medicare SSDI. When you get that before turning 65, after two years, you're automatically entitled to Medicare benefits.

I want to compare and contrast that with SSI, not SSDI. But SSI. SSI is a program that you get because you are disabled, whether you’re under the age of 65 or over the age of 65, and your income is under a certain amount.

In the year 2022, that amount is $841. If your income is below $841, you can apply for SSI if you're also disabled or over the age of 65. Basically, they will bring your income up to $841. So as an example, if your income is $840 and you apply, you will be entitled to $1 of SSI payments every month.

Now, some people go, ‘Why would we do that? Who cares about $1?’ Well, the reason why that's important for many individuals is because if you have SSI – even one dollar worth – it automatically entitles you to Medicaid. Not Medicare – Medicaid. There is no waiting period for that as soon as you're eligible for SSI for at least one dollar’s worth per month, you are then automatically essentially enrolled in your state's community Medicaid program.

So again, SSDI gets you Medicare SSI gets you Medicaid.

Now let's go back to the original question. If you receive an inheritance or any sum of money, while on Social Security disability, what happens? If you're on SSDI, nothing happens. That is not a needs-based program, meaning that you could have a million dollars in the bank or own any number of assets and you would still be entitled to your SSDI and your Medicare.

That's because you paid into the system while you were working. It's kind of like paying an insurance premium and now you're collecting your insurance policy – it doesn't matter how much money you have.

Now, if the disability you have is SSI, then receiving money will jeopardize those benefits. And that's a very good reason to call a law firm such as ours if you're in the state of Florida.

At Elder Needs Law, we can talk to you about the different legal and ethical ways to protect the inheritance, the personal injury settlement, the proceeds from the sale of your house, or however you're coming into money to protect the SSI and your Medicaid benefits. Give us a call and schedule a consultation today!


Find more helpful resources:

●     Can I sell a house and keep Medicaid benefits in Florida?

●     Can I keep Florida Medicaid if I temporarily have more than $2,000?

●     Dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid: What it means for you

●     Florida asset protection: What is an estate plan?

●     Your options for receiving Medicaid benefits after a personal injury settlement