If you purchase a house, does it affect eligibility for disability?
Here's the answer to the question of whether or not you can maintain your eligibility for disability benefits if you purchase a home and the answer is multi-part.
If you are applying for Social Security Disability or have been approved for SSD and currently receive benefits, the issue of home ownership is a non-issue.
In fact, the issue of assets at all is a complete non-issue. SSD is considered a federal insurance entitlement. In other words, you pay into the system over several year via work activity (and this is the case whether you have your fica contributions deducted from a paycheck or you are self-employed and have to "settle up" with the IRS annually or quarterly) and if you own one home or twenty homes it makes no difference.
SSI disability, however, is different. SSI is need-based and SSI disability benefits are available to adults and children who are not insured and, thus, not covered for Social Security Disability insurance benefits. For SSI, assets are absolutely a consideration and, in fact, the cap on assets for this program is two thousand dollars. Meaning: you cannot have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets and retain eligiblity for SSI.
Obviously, any home will be worth more than two thousand dollars as an asset. However, countable assets for SSI disability eligibility does not include the residence you live in. So, to answer the question we began, "can you buy a house or home if you receive Social Security Disability or SSI?", we can state the following----
1. For Social Security Disability, it doesn't matter and assets are not a consideration.
2. For SSI, assets are a consideration in determining a person's eligibility, but will not be an issue as far as one's residence is concerned. Real property will, however, be a consideration for any real property that is owned aside from one's residence. And in such cases, the fair market value of excess real property will be used to count against the two thousand dollar asset limit for SSI disability.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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