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How much do you know about SSI benefits?

In previous posts, we've taken a closer look at how those people who have suffered debilitating injuries or been diagnosed with life-changing conditions can seek much-needed assistance via the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

In today's post, we'll take a closer look at another program run by the Social Security Administration designed to help those people who also require much-needed assistance to help cover the necessities of life, including food, housing and clothing.

Here, we are talking about the Supplemental Security Income program, which is designed to provide financial assistance to elderly, blind and disabled individuals who cannot support themselves financially despite their best efforts.

While an entire blog post could be dedicated to breaking down the qualifications for SSI benefits, the general idea is that people don't have to have a work history and have paid Social Security taxes in order to qualify. Indeed, the SSI program is considered a supplement program that is not funded by Social Security tax revenue, but rather general tax revenue.

A common question that people have concerning SSI benefits is whether they are subject to federal income tax.

The good news is that SSI benefits are not treated as taxable income by the federal government, meaning that recipients will not receive any document like the annual SSA-1099 form.

Another common question people have concerning SSI benefits is whether an inheritance will affect their eligibility.

The answer here is that it depends upon the amount inherited. In general, the amount inherited is treated as income for the month in which it was received. This, in turn, could serve to make a person ineligible for SSI benefits for that particular month if the inheritance is above a certain monetary threshold.

Furthermore, if the person has inheritance money remaining into the next month, it will then be considered part of their resources. This is significant because the regulations indicate that anyone with over $2,000 in resources cannot maintain eligibility for SSI benefits.

All of this serves to underscore that anyone with questions about SSI benefits should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can provide clear answers, as well as a clear strategy for fighting to secure these benefits.

Source: The Oklahoman, "Social Security Q&A: What is Supplemental Security Income?" July 11, 2014; The Asbury Park Press, " Social Security: Do SSI benefits get taxed?" July 27, 2014

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