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I was awarded SSI the other day at my hearing but of course have yet to receive the award letter in the mail from SS.

New Port Richey, FL |

I am closing on the house left to myself, and two other siblings in just two days. I am expecting a rather large sum. My question is this, short of getting a trust, since I have not "officially" been put on disability yet, if I spend this money quickly (I have many debts, and past due bills and possible liens.) will I be ok as far as my benefits are concerned? If there is anything remaining I plan to put it in an IRA. Is this a good idea? Also I do NOT plan to put this money in any type of bank account. I do not want to do anything illegal but I desperately need this to pay off my debts and more so need my disability. Please help!!! I appreciate your timely response and consideration into this matter.

Attorney Answers 3


First question: did you attend the hearing alone? If you were represented by an attorney, these are questions that you should ask him/her.

If your debts are greater than the amount that you will receive, this may not be an issue. However, if you will have assets remaining, you may be ineligible for benefits Social Security will consider some of your "resources" -and limit you, as an individual to $2,000.00 in resources. If you exceed this amount you will be ineligible during the period for which you exceed the limit. You must also be careful not to give away "resources" or sell them at a reduced value. If you do this, you may be ineligible for benefits for up to 36 months.

As this is a question that calls for looking that the specific facts of your case - please consult your attorney. If you are having a difficult time locating an attorney to speak with, please contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the contact information of attorneys in your area. The NOSSCR website can be found at:

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Any answer really depends on exactly which type of benefits you will be receiving, SSD or SSI. For SSD, how you spend it or save it does not matter one wit. For SSI, how you spend it and how you save it matters greatly. If it truly is SSI only then putting money into an IRA is not prudent. You really should consult with an attorney - the one you already retained, or if none then try the Legal Aid Services Organization in your area (and give them a reasonable donation after your consultation.)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a need based program, looks to other sources of income and assets as a possible source of benefit reduction. All income and resources of the claimant and spouse will be considered and reduce the monthly SSI benefit by at least 1/3. This includes items such as workers’ compensation benefits, receipt of Social Security disability (Title II) benefits, a spouse’s income(wages, SSI, LTD, etc.), or even “gifts” or “loans” from family members or friends (loans can be excluded from countable income if appropriately documented at the time the loan is made and notice is given to Social Security). Not included is the now rare case where a claimant receives cash assistance through a state or county welfare system. You need to verify that the correct dates and/or benefit reductions are being used by the local office in calculating benefits.

Social Security Disability (SSD) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to: blind or disabled workers, their children, widow(er)s, and adults disabled since childhood The worker will get Medicare coverage automatically after receiving disability benefits for two years. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is financed through general revenues from taxes, meaning benefits are not based on your prior work history. In most states, beneficiaries will automatically be eligible for Medicaid. SSI benefits are payable to: individuals age 65 or older, adults who are disabled or blind, children who are disabled or blind. Eligibility requirements: have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, be a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of aliens. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the state.

Whether you are disabled or not is determined under the same analysis for either program.

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

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I agree with my colleagues. There are many questions raised by your question, and we do not have the info we need to really be helpful. Talk to your attorney about this.

You may want to talk to an attorney in your area so you can review the specific facts with counsel. If you do not have an attorney, there are a number of good attorneys in your area, some of whom you can find here on Avvo. You may also contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact your local legal aid office if you cannot afford an attorney.

You may also contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

You may also contact NADR (National Association of Disability Representatives) – automated Telephone Referral System at 1-800-747-6131.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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