Sometimes a topic suddenly starts to generate questions. The following question came up three separate times while I was teaching recently. Perhaps it will interest you too.
Q: How much money can I have in savings before my Social Security disability stops?
A: Your savings will not stop Social Security disability benefits. Whether rich or poor, your financial value does not matter for Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits.
Work is at the base of all Social Security benefits, not financial need. Requirements vary with type of benefit but the person whose Social Security number record is involved needs enough work to be insured or benefits are not payable. Learn more about Social Security benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov.
If you receive Social Security through your own record, then your work record was used. If you receive benefits through another person’s record, such as a child eligible through a parent, then that person had to have enough work.
What can confuse people on this topic is that the Social Security Administration is responsible for more than Social Security retirement, survivors and disability benefits.
Eligibility for the low-income Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program does include income and resource requirements. SSI can provide benefits to those over age 65 as well as blind or disabled children or adults. SSI is very different from Social Security, but both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration.
People receiving SSI must stay below certain income and resource levels to remain eligible. Resources include savings and other items of financial value that you own and can turn into cash but not everything you own is counted toward the resource limit. For an eligible individual the total level of counted resources is $2,000. For an eligible couple, this amount is $3,000. These resource levels will continue for 2015. If exceeded, the person is no longer eligible.
Some types of resources that do not count toward these totals are the house you live in and household goods, usually one vehicle, some insurance policies and some burial funds. This is not a complete list. An overview of Supplemental Security Income resources is here.
Since Social Security and SSI are completely different programs, one person can receive both of them if the separate requirements are met.
In summary, if a person receives both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), his or her savings or other resources will not stop Social Security benefits but they can end SSI benefits.