My Services: SSI
Reducing Assets to Qualify for the SSI Program
To qualify for SSI benefits at age 18, your child cannot have more than $2,000 in assets in his own name.
Maybe you have been diligently saving for your child and accumulating money in UTMA accounts, 529 plans, joint accounts, or even your child's own name. Generous grandparents might have been buying Savings Bonds or setting up bank accounts under your child's Social Security number.
While it's good for your child to have a nest egg, these savings strategies can cause problems when your child turns 18 and you want him to qualify for SSI. To get SSI, a person can't have more than $2,000 in resources. Except for 529 plans (which the SSI program excludes) and UTMA accounts (which are not considered to be your child's asset until age 21), all assets under an applicant's Social Security number are counted toward his eligibility.
So how can your child qualify if he has more than $2,000?
Closing the accounts and putting the assets in your own name won't work. There is a waiting period of up to 36 months to get benefits, depending on the amount transferred. But these three strategies may work:
If you are considering using a special needs "payback" trust, be sure to work closely with an attorney who specializes in this area. Social Security has some highly technical rules about setting up the bank account—so even if the wording in your trust is flawless, your child's application could get kicked out because you did not set up the bank account properly.
When you are dealing with a large government agency, you need to follow their rules to the letter. Your don't want to make a mistake and cost your child any benefits.
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