If you have loved ones who receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability payments, you might be considering giving them something to make their holidays a bit easier. Since many do not receive sufficient funds to live comfortably due to many recent budget cuts, a cash gift is often appreciated. Before you write a check to your family member however, find out how a monetary gift could affect their current benefits.
You should know that disability benefits are not typically affected by extra income. This is because people become eligible by meeting all the criteria and also paying into the system for years through a job. Thus, they are usually able to receive cash gifts without affecting their case either way. The problem arises when they also receive Medicaid or SSI, as these programs do consider any additional income.
Recipients of SSI payments can very well be negatively affected by receiving extra money. When it comes to calculating the amount of benefits they can receive, income is considered anything received, either in cash or free items, to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. This includes earned income, unearned income, and charity.
Those receiving SSI are not supposed to have over $2000 at one time, or they could become ineligible for benefits, including Medicaid. If you think your relative needs $2000 or more from you, be sure to create a trust. That way, anyone else who wants to give the disabled loved one a cash gift in the future can simply add it to the trust, which should be controlled by a trusted family member.
Attempting to help someone and ending up taking benefits away from them in the process can be devastating, but luckily you can avoid the issue. If you are still unclear on how much money you can safely give your loved one, consider talking to a advocate well versed on Social Security topics.
If you or your loved one are suffering from a severe physical or mental disability, you should contact a Social Security Disability advocate immediately to learn about your rights and determine eligibility. The process of securing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be difficult and overwhelming. Don't go it alone! The disability advocates at LaVan & Neidenberg, located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL understand the inner workings of the Social Security Administration and will help you navigate the system. Call us today for a FREE consultation - 1-888-234-5758.
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