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Social Security Administration takes gifts into account for eligibility

Many people are familiar with the requirements for qualifying for Social Security disability benefits, but may not know that there are additional requirements to keep them. In the holiday season, many families exchange gifts, some of which may be rather expensive. However, the amount of property a beneficiary has can cause them to lose their benefits.

In order to remain eligible for benefits from any number of government programs, including Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, disabled people must regulate their finances carefully. They cannot have more than $2,000 at any one time, nor can they possess more than $2,000 in personal property. If physical gifts or gifts of money were to amount to more than this $2,000 limit, the benefits could be in danger.

Trusts are an option for families to financially support their disabled loved ones without disqualifying them. Trusts are not controlled by the beneficiary but rather by a third party, such as an attorney, or a family member.

Social Security benefits for disability are often sorely needed by those who benefit from the government assistance program, regardless of what gifts they may receive. These funds are used for rent, food and other expenses. If a person loses their benefits, they may be interested to pursue an appeal in order to regain them. An attorney experienced in the Social Security system can help to represent the interests of the former beneficiary and ensure that their rights are well-defended.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Gifts can be double-edged sword for special needs recipients," Shaun Heasley, Dec. 15, 2012

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