I have a fair amount of equity in my house, two cars, and $1,000 cash in the bank. Is this above the asset limit for Social Security disability?
The Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program has no asset limit—but, the Social Security Administration operates two separate disability programs.
One program is SSDI (often just called "Social Security disability") and the other is SSI (Supplemental Security Income). To be eligible for SSDI, an employee has to pay FICA taxes into the Social Security system for many years. (Or someone who is self-employed has to pay self-employment, or SECA, taxes for many years.)
The SSDI program does not limit the amount of cash, assets, or resources an applicant owns. An SSDI applicant can own two houses, five cars, and have $1,000,000 in the bank. And the SSDI program doesn't have a limit to the amount of unearned income someone can bring in; for instance, dividends from investments. (But an applicant who earns more than a certain amount of wages by working in a job or being self-employed won't qualify as disabled because Social Security will find that person capable of working.)
The rules for SSI are completely different. SSI is a need-based program for those living in poverty. (Social Security disability insurance is not. Instead, SSDI is a benefit that workers pay for, and qualify for, through tax contributions paid into the Social Security system.)
To be eligible for SSI, an individual has to have low income (generally under $900 to $1,700 per month) and low assets (less than $2,000). For couples, the asset limit is $3,000.
Certain assets don't count toward the limit, including one car and one house. For more information on what assets count for SSI purposes, see our article on the SSI property limit.
Updated March 24, 2022