Inheritance and Disability Benefits

An inheritance may affect the Social Security benefits you are receiving.  Essentially, Social Security provides two types of disability benefits.  One benefit is for disabled workers, the other benefit is for disabled adults and children with limited income and resources.

The first type of benefit, the one for disabled workers (SSDI) is a benefit for workers who become disabled before their retirement age, and can no longer work.  Their eligibility is based on their work history and the number of work credit quarters reported.  It is not based on your income assets or resources.  Accordingly, an individual would receive those disability benefits on a monthly basis, without affecting other incomes the individual receives.  Any inheritance they receive would be considered unearned income, and as such, would not affect their disability benefits.

The second program known as “Supplemental Social Security Income”, or SSI, is designed for disabled adults and disabled children, along with blind individuals with limited work histories.  It is a needs-based program.  Accordingly, your income assets and resources affect your eligibility.  In order to receive your SSI benefits, your monthly income must not exceed a certain Federal Benefit rate.  Typically, the rate has been slightly under $1,000 of income monthly, with a cap for individuals and for couples.  In addition, your assets cannot exceed $2,000 for individuals or $3,000 for couples.  Accordingly, the SSI benefits will be affected if you receive inheritance.  Please note that the Social Security Administration does exclude your home and car in determining these benefits.