Will inheritance affect my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments?

Submitted by Daniel on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:52

Continued eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits is dependent on many different factors. These include your ability to work, your living situation, and any income and resources you have earned. However, the two disability benefit programs—SSI and SSDI—vary. What may disqualify an SSI recipient may not disqualify and SSDI recipient. Today we will be answering a question about the effect of inheritance on a person’s Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

If you have a question that you’d like us to address in a future blog post, please leave it in the comment section below or contact us through Facebook, or Twitter. Today’s question is:

Will inheritance affect my SSDI benefits?

If you are a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipient and receive an inheritance, it will not affect your benefits. SSDI is not a needs-based program and is not contingent upon your unearned income—including inheritance.

The only income that may potentially affect your SSDI benefits is any wages that you earn through employment. If you engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), your monthly payments could be lowered or eliminated as a result. In 2023, SGA is considered to be earning $1,470 or more in one month. If you begin working while receiving SSDI benefits, then it is necessary to report this income to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

However, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and have recently inherited funds, your benefits may potentially be affected. This is due to the fact that the SSI program is based on financial need. Any income, earned or unearned, can affect your benefits. Therefore it is imperative to inform the SSA of any changes to your income. You have up to ten days following the end of the month in which the change occurred to report the change.

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Blog comments

A helpful friend (not verified)

I am trying to find credible info for a person receiving Sadi in CA. he's ia to receive a generous sum from a family trust and wants info on how it affects her Sadi benefits. One person told her she has to spend it the same month that she receives it so that it doesn't qualify as income received but, she anticipates that she will receive at least $50,000 and can't begin to spend that in a month. Please help

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 16:56 Permalink

In reply to by A helpful friend (not verified)

If you are a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipient and receive an inheritance, it will not affect your benefits. SSDI is not a needs-based program and is not contingent upon your unearned income—including inheritance.

Best Wishes,

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 17:01 Permalink
samantha f (not verified)

ok my son was getting child support from his dad that was on ssi or ssa and he just passed away. what do I need to do to make sure that my son still gets that or does he not get it anymore. I need to know what I need to do. thanks...

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 14:32 Permalink

In reply to by samantha f (not verified)

Hi Samantha,
you may want to contact the SSA with this information, you can do so by going to the SSA's website or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 15:55 Permalink
Dana, (not verified)

My brother receives SSI $750 a month, because of his Mental Illness since a child. He is 46 years old has Medicaid and has dialysis 3 times a week due to kidney failure..
He was just awarded $500.00 from the VA, it is called DIC death benefits from his deceased father who was a 100% disabled vet.

Because my brother receives SSI will he loose his SSI up to the amount of the DIC benefit? So for him to stay under SSI and receive medicad SSI will reduce by $500.00 right?
Is there a way that he can keep the SSI and DIC benefit if we get a trust opened in his name where the DIC benefits can go to?

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 13:22 Permalink
Danny (not verified)

I went overseas for two weeks and brought back $10,000 cash. I have been getting SSI for past 15 years and I have just gotten a letter to come to SSA for an eligibility interview. What heppens if I tell them about my $10K in cash I have at home? Will they deny my SSI forever? Please advise.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:00 Permalink

In reply to by Danny (not verified)

Hi Danny,
That money may be counted as income for the month that you receive it, and then it would be considered a resource for the months afterward. You may be ineligible for benefits due to exceeding the income and resource limits temporarily, however you would not become ineligible forever if you are still otherwise eligible.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 13:33 Permalink
Danny (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Thank you for the reply. I'm not sure how my interview will go but I'm worried about the consequences of telling the interviewer about the $10K I brought back. Will they ask about it or do I disclose it voluntarily? The money is cash so it's not deposited in any account.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 19:14 Permalink

In reply to by Danny (not verified)

Hi Danny,
Unfortunately, you may have to disclose it voluntarily even if they do not ask about it, as hiding assets from the SSA for the purposes of benefit eligibility may be considered fraud.

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 14:15 Permalink
Sheila (not verified)

My father died intestate and was heir along with 3 of his siblings to 37 acres of land; I along with 8 siblings (5 deceased) are inheriting his portion of "heir property;" as his spouse (my mother) is now deceased...As a SSDI recipient would this affect my SSDI payments?

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 09:13 Permalink

In reply to by Miriam (not verified)

Hi Miriam,
Yes, it would be considered income for the month you receive it, and a financial resource for subsequent months.

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 10:31 Permalink
Miss Lady (not verified)

Hi, I was told I'm getting an inheritance in a couple installments. I will get 5,000.00 some time within the next few months. I receive both SSI & SSDI. I had brain surgery recently and have epilepsy that isn't well controlled so I won't be going back to work any time soon. After reading these other comments, if I understand it correctly, I will lose my SSI but keep my SSDI correct? For how long will I lose my SSI? and how do I get it back?

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 01:45 Permalink

In reply to by Miss Lady (not verified)

Hi there,
You would become ineligible for SSI due to the income and resource limits that SSI has, so I really could not say how long you would be ineligible for benefits, but you would have to have less than $2000 in savings and be earning less than $735 a month to become eligible again.

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 13:11 Permalink
Brent I Smith (not verified)

I have a nephew living in Illinois and collecting SSDI benefits. He is included in my will. He told me any inheritance he gets from my estate will be taken by the state of Illinois because he collects SSDI.
Do you have any information regarding what sounds like a Rostenkowski money grab?

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 18:42 Permalink
Joe (not verified)

I need to know if I am an executor of a will for a friend not related in any way is this considered working.

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 06:10 Permalink
Debbie (not verified)

How can I find out which type of disability I get? I have worked and paid into the system since the age of 16. I am about to inherit and don't know which type I have

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 09:38 Permalink
D.J. (not verified)

So if my parents pass before me does having a trustee handle the estate and dole out a small monthly stipend effect my SSI, and most importantly my Medicaid (because I am very ill and my prescriptions are well over $10,000/month)? In addition, do law firms make good trustees?

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 11:17 Permalink

In reply to by D.J. (not verified)

You may be able to keep any inheritance in a Special Needs Trust, which would be exempt from savings and resources limits for SSI benefits. However, I really could not say if that's the situation that you have set forth now, you may want to confer with the people administering the trust.

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 13:56 Permalink
Arthur (not verified)

Both my wife and I are seriously disabled and on SSI. My wife, years ago when she was healthy was named by her mother in her will as Executor. Her mother recently died and my wife inherited $5,000 from an investment corporation that her mother had an account with. Her 2 sisters also received a similar amount. We understand, of course,that she must contact the SSA and report her inheritance. Presumably, we will both lose our SSI income until the $5,000 is eliminated. My question is-her mother had 2 Life Insurance policies that total up to approximately 9K. Her final expenses(cremation, nursing home, etc) came up to approximately 7K and we had to borrow money to pay these people as they needed their money immediately. This leaves about 2K for any lingering bills that will trickle in over the next coming year, like anything Blue Cross did not pay, etc. The 2 Life Insurance checks were sent to my wife as she is the Executor of her mother's will. How should she deal with these Life Insurance checks without both of us losing our SSI? As of now, she has not cashed anything and we are unsure just how to proceed here.

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 04:06 Permalink

In reply to by Arthur (not verified)

Hi Arthur,

I am very sorry to hear that. I would recommend reaching out and speaking to someone at the insurance company.

Best Wishes,

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 16:58 Permalink
Yvette (not verified)

My child just learned her father has an estate and when divided by his children she gets a part. will this affect her ssi. She is diabled

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 15:20 Permalink
Joannie C (not verified)

I am currently on SSDI and Masshealth and have been for years. I am buying a home and currently am running $60,000 short. My mother would like to give me that money to buy my house. I was wondering what the best way to go about this without being penalized. I also wanted to know if I would loose my masshealth and SSDI .. Please help!

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:11 Permalink

In reply to by Joannie C (not verified)

Hi Joannie,

Getting money for the house will not affect your SSDI. I'm unaware about how/if it will affect your MassHealth. I would recommend speaking to a representative there.

Best Regards,

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 16:55 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am receiving SSDI benefits me will inherit an unknown amount of money in the near future. From what I read above, this will not affect my benefits, but could it affect back taxes owed to the IRS? Thank-you for your time.

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 17:23 Permalink
Lisa Bee (not verified)

Simone is on SSI and when her mom passed away she received an inheritance of a little over 25,000. Her mother also purchased a home before she passed and money is still owed on it,long story short she didn't report it and has been using the inheritance to pay the mortgage and other bills ( documents,proof sent in). Susan did however purchase a car but she had a job and it was for that purpose only and still owes on it. Susan has been terminated so no source of income. She received a letter of termination from Medicaid ( asthma is uncontrollable sometimes ). What will happen with her situation?

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 22:30 Permalink

In reply to by Lisa Bee (not verified)

Hi Lisa,
If Simone's primary residence is the house she inherited, and the car that she purchased is her only vehicle, she may still be eligible for SSI benefits. However, the inheritance Simone received may make her ineligible for benefits for the month that she received it (as that would be considered income) and for the months afterward it would be considered a financial resource.

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 15:22 Permalink
Jane doe (not verified)

My husband receives ssi but a couple of years ago, they took most of it away, because they made me his payee never asked to be he only has a little left of his benefits. Could they start taking my money, because they said they overpaid him and how much.

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 10:35 Permalink
Bert (not verified)

My dad passed and I got 6000 in Insurance I told Social Security I was going to do a spend down and they cut my ssi off and medicaid, I spent the money, on getting my car fix and furniture an computer, I give my two brothers two thousand dollars, now Social Security wont tell if I will get my ssi back, will I.

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 16:40 Permalink

In reply to by Bert (not verified)

Hi Bert,
I really could not say if they will cut off your SSI benefits as we are not affiliated with the SSA or the federal government and we do not have access to that type of information.

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 08:41 Permalink
Ryan (not verified)

I can't seam to find out where to get my statement for the $42 qaurtly (every 3 month) check for my landlord. Anyone knw who I need to call I have been trying for 2 weeks with no results so far.

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 05:52 Permalink
Sue szk. (not verified)

I have a trustee. I am in nd. The bank has my money's from inheritance and I am on ssdi. Bank n trustee refuse give me money free n clear. Say per will n in Levi all needs trust fund n refuse release. We're shown general fed. Code regulation-416.1123 and still refuse release money. What can I do? She won't give me bank statements monthly and very hard deal with.

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:04 Permalink
Ginger (not verified)

My friend is on SSDI disability $500.00 and her son, who is 17, is on SSI $400.00 because he has a very rare liver cancer. She gets a supplemental $100.00 a month SSI. Her mother left her her house when she died in November 2015. After paying off her mother's mortgage and bills she walked away with around $30,000 she put in the bank. She owns her trailer and land and has to pay all the bills herself as her ex-husband doesn't pay a dime child support and since she only get's $16.00 a month food stamps (yes I said $16.00) she has been using that money to buy food and supplement her SSDI. (She has $8,000 of it left) She received a letter saying she has to pay back all of her sons money since November 2015. What can she do? Since the house was left to her and not her son, can she say it was on her SSDI and not his SSI?

Sun, 05/07/2017 - 17:57 Permalink

In reply to by Ginger (not verified)

HI Ginger,
SSI benefits for children are based on their parent's income and resources, so your friend's inheritance would be counted as income for the month that she receives it and a financial resource for the months afterward. She may want to contact the SSA regarding this, however once she received the inheritance her child may have been ineligible for SSI benefits.

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 13:04 Permalink
Randy (not verified)

My father left an inheritance without a will that is going through Probate now. My sister has been on some type of disability for over 20 years, and has now taken over 35K on the inheritance advance and is still collecting disability. She has also been named administrator and is requesting over 14K in re-imbursible expenses. Is she eligible to still receive benefits and shouldn't the administrator position be considered employment as they are compensated for their time in doing this?

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:57 Permalink

In reply to by Randy (not verified)

Hi Randy,

I cannot answer for certain about whether the administrator position would be considered employment, but if your sister is on SSDI, then receiving inheritance should not affect her benefits.

Best of Luck,

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 09:25 Permalink
B (not verified)

I've had epilepsy since age 13. I'm 48 now. My mom passed away. I was declared disabled before age 22 but no benefits were claimed during that time. I ended up working for a period of time and after that I claimed ssdi. I've been told I can claim disabled adult child benefits but someone told me since I worked I won't be able to qualify.
I only started collecting after I stopped working. Do you have any feedback on that

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 13:25 Permalink

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