Social Security often imposes caps on income and assets for disability benefit recipients. But anyone receiving Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits can have a savings account. There are limits, however, on specific benefits.
SSDI and SSI
A person is eligible for SSDI if they have a work history and a medical condition that makes them unable to work for at least a year or cause death. SSDI has restrictions on work earnings but has no limits on assets or savings accounts.
SSI gives cash assistance to older or blind people or individuals with disabilities with financial need. The Social Security Administration sets different and more complicated income limits for SSI beneficiaries.
The SSA also imposes a ceiling on financial assets. Individuals receiving SSI may not own over $2,000 in countable resources. The limit is $3,000 for couples. Assets of parent or immigrants with a sponsor who live with beneficiaries may have their assets counted toward SSI eligibility.
Countable resources include stocks and bonds, cash on hand and a vehicle that is not used as a transportation mode. A person’s home, the vehicle a person or someone in their household uses for transportation and life insurance policies with a total face value not exceeding $1,500 are not countable resources.
Savings accounts are countable resources under SSI. These accounts may not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for couples. Savings account assets can be added with other countable resources and exceed these limits for individuals and couples.
Beneficiaries can have over $2,000 in savings and maintain SSI eligibility if they participate in savings programs designed for recipients with disabilities and low savings.
Achieving a Better Life Experience accounts allow tax-free savings for people with disabilities diagnosed before they were 26. The first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not an SSI-countable resources. Any amount over $100,000 is added to the calculation on assets caps.
A Plan to Achieve Self-Support is a plan containing a work-related goal to help beneficiaries become financially self-sufficient and end or reduce the need for disability benefits. Money set aside with a PASS for education, childcare, assistive technology, or other items used to meet this goal is not a countable resource for SSI.
Individual Development Accounts are used by low-income individuals to save money from their earnings for education, purchasing a home or business start-up costs. For eligibility, a person must work and receive Assistance for Needy Families. Individual contributions may be matched by federal and state money which is not counted for SSI eligibility.
Attorneys can assist beneficiaries with maintaining benefits. They can also help them apply for benefits and contesting denials.