The SSI Home Exclusion:
How Does It Affect the Asset/Resource Limitation for the SSI Program?
Not only do you have to meet the SSA’s guidelines for a disability in order to receive benefits, but you also need to fall below specific income and asset limits. Regarding the income limitation, the SSI maximum federal benefit rate (FBR) for 2013 is $710 a month for individuals and $1,066 for couples. The FBR is then reduced by any countable income to calculate your individual SSI benefit rate. “Countable income” including wages, other Social Security benefits and pensions, and non-cash items you might receive (ex- food, clothing and shelter). Your countable monthly income cannot exceed the federal benefit rate of $710 per month. An individual’s SSI benefit rate also depends partly upon where you live.
Regarding the asset/resource limitation , for 2013, the maximum countable resource limitation is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. Resources include anything that you own, including cash, land, personal property, vehicles, life insurance policies, and anything else you own which could be changed to cash and used for food or shelter. Some resources are not counted, including the home you live in, household goods and personal effects, and one vehicle if used for your personal transportation.
Prove That You Own Your Home for SSI Home Exclusion
If you’re concerned that your home puts you over the resource limit and will prevent you from getting SSI disability benefits, the good news is there’s a possibility your home does not have to be counted for that specific asset qualification—it may not count against you due to a home exclusion the Social Security Administration provides.
In order to prove that you own the home, you’ll need to use a document such as the deed, property tax assessment or current mortgage statement that has your name on it.There are two main qualifications you have to meet in order for the home exclusion to be applied and prevent you from going over the resource limit. The first is that you have to own your home. The second is that it needs to be your primary residence. Regardless of whether it’s a fixed home, mobile home or even a houseboat, if you own it and it’s where you live, it can qualify for this exclusion.
Answers to Two Common Questions About the Home Exclusion
The most common question about the home exclusion is if a home’s value will play a role in whether or not it qualifies. To the surprise of many, the answer to that question is no. If it meets the previously discussed guidelines, its entire value will be excluded regardless of how much or little that value may be.
The second question is if land can fall under this exclusion. If the land is where the primary residence you own is located, it will be excluded. The same is true for any additional buildings such as a garage or barn that are on the same land. Additionally, if you own the land where your primary residence is but don’t actually own that residence, the land can still be excluded as an asset. The most common example of that scenario is renting a mobile home from someone else and putting it on your land.
If you have any additional questions about the home exclusion or need help gathering evidence to prove you’re eligible, contact Lisa M. Ritacco for a free consultation about how she may be able to help you with your case.