Social Security ques. On SSI & buying a home...
PROBLEM! Social Security website only takes about a house. It doesn't talk about land.
I'm not buying the house at the same time (don't laugh, i'll probably put a mobile home on the land later), so what are my options? or do I not have any?
bonus question: If its a person's first home purchase ever, will SSI let someone pay $1999 down + a first month's payment? Or do I need to split it up so the down payment is month#1 and first month's payment is month #2?
These social security regulations sure are complex for an honest person trying to do something...honest.
2 attorney answers
I commend you on your ability to save money while on an SSI budget.
I would consult with a Florida attorney who specializes in Social Security. I am concerned that the amount of money you have saved may disqualify you from SSI. Depending on your age, you may be able to transfer money to an exempt trust, such as a pooled trust, and have the trust make purchases on your behalf.
This is not intended as legal advice and should only be used for informational purposes only. You should never believe any information that you receive on the internet, especially information that is probably being provided in the late evening hours when I should be sleeping.
The Social Security regs are complex for everyone, even lawyers who work in this field every day! On the surface, you're certainly in a pickle. You're right, SSI excludes your "home" as a resource, so if you were putting money down on land that you could move into immediately (e.g., if there was already a mobile home on the land, and you could move into it immediately), then you'd be OK - yes, you'd have a new resource, but it would be an excluded resource (a home), so you wouldn't get cut off. Because the land you're looking at buying wouldn't be your home, at least not at first, it WOULD be a countable resource, and you would probably be cut off of SSI.
I've been looking for a way around this in the regulations, but I just can't find one. It would a great policy if SSA would allow people in your situation to purchase land with the intent of living on it later, but as far as I can tell, they don't currently have an exception for your situation. If you buy that land in your own name, then, you face getting cut off by SSI.
The only way I can think of to get around this would be to have some sort of trust arrangement. Property held in an irrevocable trust wouldn't count against you, but I honestly don't know enough about trusts (and certainly don't know enough about Florida trusts) to know whether that would be feasible, or even possible, for you to accomplish. As far as I can tell, the only safe way for you to accomplish owning your home would be to purchase something you could move into immediately, then it wouldn't be counted as a resource.
Jeremy Bordelon is a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee only, and is authorized to practice in all Tennessee State and Federal courts, and before the Social Security Administration in any jurisdiction. Please call our firm at 1-866-959-5362 if you would like to discuss your case in more detail. The answers provided on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. In some jurisdictions, this answer may be construed as attorney advertising.