Are you unable to work due to an injury or illness? If so, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to individuals who can’t earn an income due to being unable to participate in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Various factors may influence whether you’re eligible to receive such benefits. For instance, depending on the program to which you apply, the amount of money you have in savings could impact your eligibility. Keep reading to learn more.
Can You Have Money In A Savings Account And Receive Disability Benefits?
Different SSA benefits programs have different eligibility requirements. For example, if you’re applying to receive SSDI benefits, you must have a disability that falls under one of the categories in the SSA’s Blue Book. You must also have worked in the past, paid into Social Security in the past, and earned sufficient work credits.
However, you don't necessarily need to have limited financial means to qualify for SSDI. You may thus qualify for SSDI even if you have money in a savings account.
SSI is different. The SSA offers SSI benefits to those who are not financially well-off. To qualify for SSI, an individual must have a total of $2000 or less in assets and resources (or $3000 for a couple). Having too much money in a savings account may thus disqualify someone from eligibility for SSI.
Where Can I Save Money If I’m On Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are options to consider if you wish to receive SSI benefits but also wish to save money in an account of some kind. Although you might not be able to keep your money in a traditional savings account, you may keep it in one of the following:
- Trust: With a living trust, you’re essentially giving someone else (a trustee) control over your money or assets. As the name implies, a living trust still allows you to make changes to the trust or even withdraw funds/assets during your lifetime if you wish to. However, while they are in the trust, said assets don’t qualify as your own resources in the eyes of the SSA, offering you a loophole if you currently have too much in savings to qualify for SSI.
- Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account: An ABLE account is a type of tax-advantaged savings account you might establish if you have a disability and received your diagnosis before the age of 26. With such an account, you can save a certain amount of money without negatively affecting your eligibility for SSI.
- Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) Program: The SSA’s PASS Program allows someone to receive SSI while still setting aside money and resources in savings, provided they use said money and resources to help them pursue future work opportunities. For example, you might use the money saved via the PASS Program to pay for job training.
Get Help With Your Disability Claim
Remember, the amount of money you have saved up is just one factor that could play a role in the SSA’s decision to approve or deny your application for disability benefits. Because the process of applying for benefits and appealing the SSA’s decision if they initially deny your claim can be complex and time-consuming, you may consider enlisting the help of an attorney. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent Social Security disability benefits lawyer who subscribes to the website.