Is There a Social Security Disability Asset Limit?

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Question

I have a fair amount of equity in my house, two cars, and some cash in the bank. Is this above the asset limit for Social Security disability?

Answer

There is no asset limit for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) -- BUT, there are two separate disability programs operated by the Social Security Administration.

One disability program is SSDI and the other is SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance). To be eligible for SSDI, an employee has to pay FICA taxes into the Social Security system for many years. Again, for the SSDI program, there is no limit to the amount of assets, cash, or resources you own. In addition, there's no limit to the amount of income you or your spouse makes. But keep in mind that if you make more than a certain amount by working in a job or being self-employed, you won't qualify as disabled because you'll be considered to be capable of substantial gainful activity. And if you make a sizeable income from unearned sources (interest or investments) and/or your spouse makes money from working, you will be taxed on a portion of your SSDI benefits. 

The rules for SSI are completely different. To be eligible for SSI, a person has to have low income and low assets (less than $2,000). This is  because SSI is a need-based program, whereas Social Security disability insurance is a benefit that workers pay for, and qualify for, through contributions (FICA taxes) paid into the Social Security system (typically through payroll check deductions). For more information on what assets count for SSI purposes, see our article on the SSI property limit.

Updated by: , J.D.

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