The largest minority in the United States is individuals with disabilities. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 63 million people suffer from a physical or mental impairment. Through two programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), people with disabilities could be eligible for monthly financial benefits. As these individuals look to manage from day to day, they also worry about saving money for the future. In the following article, Ken Kieklak, a Fayetteville Social Security Disability attorney, looks at how much money someone who is receiving disability can save and still qualify for benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplement Security Income (SSI)
If you suffer from a mental or physical impairment that makes it impossible to earn a living, you could be eligible for either SSDI or SSI benefits. There is a significant difference between the two programs, especially how they impact your ability to save money.
SSDI is funded through a federal tax on salaries and works similarly to an insurance policy. If you have paid into the system long enough and become disabled, you are entitled to monthly benefits if you have a qualifying impairment. Your personal property, including savings, is not included in the determination process.
SSI benefits are based on financial need. The medical disability requirement is the same as under SSDI. However, when you apply for SSI, the SSA will review your resources, including savings, when determining eligibility. No matter what program you are applying for, you should have our experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney working on your behalf.
Saving Money When Receiving SSDI Benefits
As stated above, the SSA will not factor in your personal property or savings when determining if you are eligible for SSDI benefits. However, there is still an income restriction that could limit your ability to save money. A key element in being approved for SSDI is demonstrating that you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA is an income threshold that is part of the eligibility determination. Therefore, in 2021, a person who is able to earn $1,276 a month is ineligible for SSDI benefits. For blind individuals, the threshold is $2,153. This income restriction will impact your ability to save money once you have been approved for disability payments. If you are showing a significant increase in your savings account from month to month, the SSA might conclude you are earning an income beyond the permitted threshold. To review the other requirements necessary to quality for SSDI, contact our Arkansas disability appeals attorney.
Qualifying for SSI and Saving Money
SSI provides monthly benefits for individuals with disabilities and who have income and resources below specified amounts. A key component in qualifying for SSI is determining the value of your resources. If your resources are above the allowable amount at the beginning of a month, you will not be eligible to receive benefits.
Resources, as defined by the SSA, include cash, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles, and savings in your bank account. Because SSI is a needs-based program, to qualify your resources must not be worth more than $2,000 if you are an individual. For couples, the limit is $3,000. Therefore, the savings you are permitted to keep are restricted by this allowable limit. To understand the other factors the SSA considers, call our experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer.
Options to Save Money if You Qualify for SSI Benefits
The SSA offers various exclusions for certain property when calculating your resources. Some of these exclusions provide means to save money without going over the allowable limit.
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account
Placing savings in an ABLE account does not impact your SSI eligibility. These accounts are designed especially for individuals with physical and mental impairments. To qualify for an ABLE account, your disability must have occurred before you turned 26 years of age. It is important to note that other people are permitted to contribute to someone’s ABLE account. Currently, an individual can save up to $14,000 a year in an ABLE account and a maximum of $336,000 in Arkansas. Other states have different limits, so speak with our Bella Vista, AR disability attorney to discuss your situation.
Individual Development Account (IDA)
IDA accounts are matched savings accounts that an individual uses to purchase a home, start a business, or pay for training or education. Every contribution is matched on a two to one basis. Therefore, if a person deposits $20, they will receive an additional $40. This program is federally funded and permits a person to save money without reducing their SSI benefits. Talk to our Arkansas Social Security lawyer regarding and other restrictions or limitations.
Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
The PASS program was designed for people who are already receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and wish to save for a work-related goal. PASS allows an individual to save money towards training, education, or starting a business. Under the program, the goal is for an individual to eventually earn enough money to reduce or eliminate the need for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Contact Our Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney to Discuss Eligibility
The application process for SSDI or SSI often appears like a maze of requirements and regulations. People applying for benefits are also concerned about their future, especially their ability to save money. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, provides guidance, counsel, and legal representation for those applying for benefits. To learn more about what you need to demonstrate to qualify for benefits and how much money you are permitted to save, contact our Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free appointment.