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Will an inheritance affect my survivor benefits and my sons also?

Middletown, OH |

my last question was not answered fully. i asked if i receive a inheritance will this affect my son and my survivor benefits and his ssi? A lawyer answered the question reguarding my sons ssi, but the the effect the inheritance might have on our survivor benefits we receive from my husbands death 1 yr 3 months ago. there are two members in my family. I would receive the inheritance from my grandmothers death. our total income a month is 1,240 . 148.00 of it is my sons ssi which was 674.00/monthly before my husbands death now it is only 148.00. So please help me understand, will the inheritance of probably under 15,000 affect our montly survivor benefits? I dont even know if inheritance is counted as income? To me it shouldn"t being that low. I am afraid to even get an inheritance now!

please please help me with this question. i tryed to put more facts in this time. I do realize my son.s ssi would most likely be affected. my biggest concern is that this inheritance is going to end up being a bad thing instead of good for my son and I. If we lose our benefits we will be no better off and still be where we are living in govt housing. This inheritance in the near future would help us pay bills pay off car so we might get off welfare. and get ahead. If it is going to cause us to lose our survivor benefits then I feel I don't even want it. Its a lump sum not a high amount or a monthly amount I know taxes will have to be paid,. I dont feel I should lose everthing because of it.

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Attorney answers 2


an inheritance is treated as a resource not income; thus an inheritance will have a negative impact on SSI and no impact on survivor's benefits. One method for avoiding this situation is to have the funds from the inheritance put into a Special Needs Trust (which restricts how the money may be spent.) You would need to contact a lawyer in your area who specializes in creating Special Needs Trusts as they are a bit tricky and need to be written to pass muster with the Social Security Administration. You could ask your local Legal Aid Services organization or bar association for referrals to attorneys who can create Special Needs Trusts and offer the service on a sliding scale fee basis.

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.


In the first month of receipt, an inheritance (or any large amount of money or something that could be sold to provide your son w/food, clothing or shelter) is considered to be income by SSI. If you still have the money (haven't spent it down or other action) in the second month, it becomes a resource and subject to the resource limits, so your son would be ineligible for SSI in the first month the inheritance is received and the second month & every month until the inheritance is no longer considered to be a countable resource.

For example, you could buy home w/the inheritance and, if it is your son's house (or jointly owned) it becomes an exempt resource (the value is not counted when determining if your son is over the limit for SSI resources). I am NOT recommending or suggesting that you use the inheritance to buy your son a house and put it in his name, just giving an example of how to convert a countable resource to an exempt resource (for SSI).

The inheritance should not affect survivor's benefits, since receipt of that benefit is determined by age & relationship to the deceased wage earner, not income, resources or disability.

You might want to consult an attorney regarding the possibility of your son applying for disabled adult child benefits (also based on the deceased wage earner's work record). Those benefits would not be dependent upon your income & resources and would make your son eligible (eventually) for Medicare benefits, if loss of Medicaid benefits is one of your concerns regarding your son's loss of eligibility for SSI..

You need to speak to an attorney who is well informed regarding the creation and effect of a special needs trust on your son's SSI, if you (not he) expect to receive a sizeable inheritance. The inheritance is yours, not his, and that may make a difference in whether a special needs trust is the only or the best way to deal with your situation.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Oregon. Responses are based solely on Oregon law unless stated otherwise.