Family resources - what counts?

Even if your child qualifies as disabled, they can't get SSI if your family has too much money or too many resources.

The less you have, the more likely you are to get SSI.

What counts as resources?

Resources, or assets, are anything you and your child own. They are things that you could sell to pay for your living expenses. Fortunately, Social Security doesn't count the value of all of your resources and assets. See these examples:

Image with the subject 'What counts?' above the list 'cash savings, money in bank accounts, real estate (other than the home you live in) second car or other vehicles, pre-paid burialarrangements (value over $1500), life insurance (cash value over $1,500), stocks and bonds.' The second subject is 'What doesn't count?' above the list 'your home, one car, computers, furnitue, second car (if used at work or needed to get to work), things needed for self-support (small business inventory, tools, equipment)'

Click the box below for more details:

These do not count as resources:
  • your home

  • one car or vehicle

  • personal and household items (furniture, appliances, TV, computer, wedding rings, etc.)

  • resources used for self-support (small business inventory, tools, equipment)

  • second vehicle if used at work or needed to get to work.

These do count
  • cash (wherever you keep it)

  • bank accounts (checking or savings)

  • real estate, other than the home you live in

  • second car or other vehicles

  • stocks and bonds

  • life insurance (cash value over $1,500)

  • pre-paid burial arrangements (value over $1,500)

  • certain other things you own and could sell to use for food or shelter.

These are called countable resources. You add them up to see if they are above the limits. Heads up: 

  • This list does not include every resource that counts. You'll have to do the real SSI application to be sure of your total countable resources.

  • As part of the application process, you must give Social Security permission to contact banks and ask for your financial information.

What are the limits to qualify?

Resource Limits for families with a child 17 or younger:

Image showing resource limits for families with a child 17 or younger with the text '1 Parent Home, $4000, ($2000 for you and $2000 for your child). 2 Parent Home, $5000, ($3000 for both parents and $2000 for your child)

  • These limits are higher if you have more than one child with a disability.
  • If you have more than these amounts in countable resources, your child won't qualify for SSI, regardless of disability or income.
  • If your child does not live with you, your resources do not count. Only the child's own resources count. The limit is $2,000. If they have less than that, they will qualify.

Want help with the math? 

Click the link at the bottom of the page to download an Excel file that will add up your resources for you.

Image of an exclamation mark
Note: The worksheets in this Guide are only an estimate. You'll have to fill out the real SSI Application to find out for sure if you qualify. We'll show you how to do that. 

 

For more details, click here to go to the SSI webpage: Understanding SSI Resources. (It will open in a new tab or window on your screen.)

 

Sources: Social Security, Misilo (2013), Jackins (2010).

 

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