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Will my inheritance completely stop the SSI process?

New Port Richey, FL |

I am to receive approximently $20,000 from an inheritance in March, I also have a hearing for SSI benefits in March. I really need the SSI benefits and I know that the money won't last long as I have many,many past due bills to pay and also have a daughter with whom I must share the inheritance with. Will receiving this money stop the SSI process altogether (will I have to reapply) if I am approved,will I get the chance to be approved? Will I still be entitled to the back-pay? Please help as I would almost rather give up the money for the benefits...

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    No, the prospect of an inheritance will not presently affect the SSI determination. In fact, it is possible to set up a special needs trust so the inheritance won't even interrupt any benefits awarded. You will need to consult with a public benefits or elder law attorney. In addition, it may be possible to arrange to have some of the inheritance paid directly to others on your behalf. All of this should be in place before your SSI hearing, so it is important to access the legal assistance without delay.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

  2. Unless you do a special needs trust, when the inheritance is officially transferred you will no longer be eligible for SSI - or for medical assistance. My colleague's suggestion to see an elder law attorney who does these types of trusts is a good one. And talk to your attorney about your SS cvase to see what happens and how you may still be eligible for any back due benefits - and if you do not have an attorney on the SS case, get one.

    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.

    Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

    I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    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.

  3. You need to consult with an elder law attorney. He or she can help you create a Special Needs Trust to protect the SSI benefits.

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