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Tue Oct 28, 2014, 05:49 PM

SSI Question

Hi all,

I receive SSI due to being disabled with a permanent, incurable condition which causes severe pain. Most of the time, I'm stuck in my room or in bed. So, it's an odd combination of torturous and extremely boring.

Anyway. I had a question about SSI (as opposed to SSDI, which I do not receive because I was disabled young and did not have enough work credits). After paying my agreed upon fair share payment to my parents due to my inability to live alone, and then any other necessities, is it true that I may spend the remaining funds as I please?

Mind you, I'm not talking about hobbling down to Wal-Mart and pushing out a shopping cart of booze. As I said, being trapped in my room/in bed is extremely boring, and it also worsens my pain if I have nothing to focus on except for that. So, I like to buy things which I can do or use from bed. Primarily books and games for my laptop.

Is this okay to do this according to SSI rules? I have never been 100% clear on this, as I get a slightly different answer each time, but the *general* response seems to be that the SSI money is mine to do with what I want so long as it's nothing illegal.

I'm going through a standard medical redetermination right now, and even though it has nothing to do with finances, I guess it just has me shaken up about the whole thing. I have diagnosed anxiety and depression issues stemming from the constant pain, and I guess this has intensified them, on top of the grief from my grandmother's death. It's all a bit much to think and worry over at one time.

Thanks very much.

EDIT: Wanted to clarify that I am an adult, do not have a representative payee, and do not have an account which is designated for any specific purpose.

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Response to Akoto (Original post)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 05:57 PM

1. If you are an adult, yes.

You deserve to have some pleasures to make your difficult existence better.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 06:05 PM

2. Yes, I am 29 and control my own finances. No representative payee involved. n/t

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Response to Akoto (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 06:11 PM

3. Who in the world would try to make you believe it is not yours to spend

It is your money. Pay your living obligations. Then spend the rest however you see fit as long as it's not illegal or truly harming someone else.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 06:20 PM

4. I guess that was the core of my question ...

Is it illegal, or at least, illegal in the sense that it goes against the rules of SSI? I know that we on SSI generally enjoy less freedom with our money than people on full disability.

I know it's probably just my anxiety getting riled up. Was going to buy something relatively expensive with money I'd saved to try and have an escape during these tough times, but I don't want to get into trouble.

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Response to Akoto (Original post)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 07:07 PM

5. I Am On SSI

For disability, and the money is yours to use as you see fit.

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Response to ozone82 (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 28, 2014, 10:47 PM

6. Thanks for letting me know.

Always reassuring to have the experience of another SSI recipient.

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Response to Akoto (Original post)

Mon Nov 10, 2014, 07:50 PM

7. The Rules on SSI is quite simple, it is what YOU THINK YOU NEED TO "Survive"


SSI is designed to give you the bare minimum amount Congress determined a person needs to survive. That include Housing, Food and other life essentials. I.e. Things you BELIEVE you need to live.

The only REAL restriction is the issue of assets. You can NOT have more then $2000 in assets UNLESS it is one of the three categories of exemption to that rule. Those exemptions are as follows:

1. The house you are living in (NO value limit, it can be worth a Million dollars).' You MUST be living in the house, temporary stay in a hospital does NOT make such a House no longer your home, but a long term stay (Permanent move) to a nursing home will make such a house that is in your name a NON-exempt assets for you will no longer be living in that house.

2. A vehicle (again NO limit as to value, please note the vehicle MUST be needed by you to get to medical appointments and other places but that includes going to the store to buy your own clothing. You do NOT need to have a driver's license in own a car in the US through you have to have a license to actually drive a car. Outside of New York City and one or two other places, you need a car to get to medical appointments, to get groceries and to go to places to buy clothing.) I suspect the people you live with provide all transportation, but this is an open thread and someone reading this may actually need to have a car in their name, thus why I am going into such details.

3. Household items i.e. items in your home, furniture, stove, refrigerators, dining and living room sets, radios, TVs, Books, Computers, anything else you have in your home. There is NO LIMIT as to the value of these items. I.e. value can be in the Millions of dollars.

Now, the $2000 limit does include how much money you have in any and all bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks and bonds, and houses you are NOT living in (and any assets NOT in the home you are living in). The $2000 limit includes any second car but NOTHING IN YOUR HOME (Except stocks and bonds and other near cash items).

Thus given you have no representative payee, you do NOT even have to pay rent out of the SSI proceeds. Through please read the next paragraph CAREFULLY as to payment of Rent.

On paying rent. It sounds like you are living with relatives. If you do NOT pay them rent, they are giving you "in kind" income. "In Kind Income" as that term is defined in the SSI regulation is any support you get from anyone in the form of goods and services (Including Free Room and Board). , i.e. if you do NOT pay rent, those relatives you are living with, by SSI Regulations, are giving you some "money" to live on. That "money" is "Income" as the term "Income" is used in the SSI Regulations. "In Kind Income" is treated like real income and is used to reduce your SSI grant. Thus if you are living with relatives continue to pay "Rent" for if you do not, SSA will reduce your SSI grant by whatever SSA think is the rent you should be paying. Pay RENT, for if you do NOT SSA will reduce your SSI grant.

One more thing. I often ask my clients how much money they spend on food per month. Most do not know, for they buy what they need or do without. The General rule of thumb, is $2 for breakfast, $3 for Lunch, $5 for Dinner (this assuming no snacks, drinks etc). That comes to $300 a month. Low end rent in my area of the country is $300 (I live in a depressed area). That leaves you about $120 for other things including paying for all the little things relatives may be doing for you.

Thus unless the people you are living with object, buy what you want out of your SSI. The law permits you to do so. Avoid Stocks and bonds and other "Liquid" assets ("Liquid Assets" is an accounting term meaning something that can be cashed in quickly and at full value). Books, Computers, Games, etc can be purchased with your SSI funds for all of that "Excess money" ($120 is NOT that much money) is to be used for your care, including keeping you entertained and connected to society as much as possible.

Given how much we are really talking about, SSA is NOT going to look into how you spend your money. If you have assets, SSA will looked into them unless we are talking about things in your home (SSA has better things to do then check on what you have in your home, given it is ALL exempt in the first place).

In simple terms, spend your money as you see fit, but remember you are living with people who are also incurring bills, thus be a member of your family, think of yourself AND them.

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Response to Akoto (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:52 PM

8. Just don't have any $ left in the bank at the end of the month. They say you can't

have more than $2000.00 but be careful, I've seen people automatically get assessed an over payment for having more thatn $700 in the bank at the end of the month.

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