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In short, yes depending on the size of the settlement. You need to speak with your attorney and get in touch with an attorney with an expertise in SS law. I have had a number of cases in the past 6 months where the amount of the settlement would have negatively affected my client's SS benefits. A trust was created in order to maintain the SS benefits. I strongly recommend you speak with an attorney about this asap.

Sending an email or posting a question does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney client privilege. The comments and opinions expressed in Jon Groth's comments are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Reading or using the information in this blog does not create the existence of an attorney-client privilege. Due to the changing nature of the law, the blog posts may contain dated material. For an update on the current law and the application of the law to your particular facts and circumstances, consult a legal advisor. The information contained herein is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state.


It should not affect SSI benefits. However, Medicare has a lien against any settlement in which it has paid any medical expenses for treatment as a result of the accident. If you have a lawyer he should take the necessary action to protect Medicare's lien. If you are unrepresented and are dealing with an insurance company directly then they should take the necessary action to protect Medicare's lien.

Bradley D. Harville

Bradley D. Harville


Well, I guess some clarification is needed. If we are talking about Social Security retirement benefits, then the settlement will not affect those benefits. On the other hand, if you are receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability benefits then any settlement you receive will be counted as income to you in the month received and as a resource in subsequent months until spent down per Social Security rules. To avoid this, the funds would need to go from the other party to your attorney or a trust attorney who then puts the funds into a Special Needs Trust - the rules for these trusts are tricky and Social Security has very specific rules about how they are set up and administered - so if you need one of these be sure to consult with an attorney who has experience with them so that it is done correctly.

Jonathan P. Groth

Jonathan P. Groth


Here' an article I found via google on the subject also:


There is a difference between SSI (supplemental income) which does consider your settlement as an asset/income, and could affect your SSI payments depending on the amount of settlement and SSDI (SS disability) which is not based on your assets /income.

There are potential ways to minimize impact on your SSI so you should talk to experienced attorney before you settle your claim.

Good luck


Yes, it is income and can be considered as such for the month in which it is received and for an additional period of time depending on the size of the award. A special trust may be available to administer the award without having it factored in to income for SSI purposes. You should call an attorney that specializes in personal injury and SSI. Their assistance will be highly beneficial.

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