If you fall below certain income guidelines you may be able to cash the check without issue. But, tax planning if important. If you have already received the check then talk with a tax attorney before you cash it. The tax attorney can look at your total financial picture and determine an appropriate course of action.
My comments are NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after you have signed an engagement letter. Answering this question does not create an attorney client relationship. Remember that without attorney client privilege you could possibly divulge information that can hurt your legal rights in the future. I am a tax attorney in Miami Florida. I can help you with your federal tax issues via a secure client portal if required.
It's tough to be certain without a little more information. It depends on exactly what type of benefit you receive and what the rest of your financial picture looks like. For example, the rules for Medicare and Social Security Disability Insurance are very different and which type you receive could make all the difference. You should consider speaking with someone who specializes in benefits or an elder law attorney (they tend to know a lot about government benefits).
In some cases, you can set up a Special Needs Trust to distribute the inheritance over time without going over your income limits. Since the cash is owned by the trust, your assets stay under the required level. To be certain, you are going to need to speak with a professional and present a complete picture of your financial situation.
Robert Hoffman is a tax attorney licensed in California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For competent advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
If you have inherited $10,000, why wouldn't you want to cash it? Wouldn't any reduction in benefits be less than what you gain? If the answer is "no" then talk to the person who sent you the check and see if you can disclaim it? A disclaimer must be done within 9 months of the event that caused you to inherit the money. As a result of your disclaimer the money will pass as if you died.