tax refund

Tax time is the one time of year where many people all over the country look forward to getting a big check back from the government. People who are on Social Security, however, sometimes dread tax time. If you suffer from a disability that requires you to quit working, and you have to start receiving SSI, many people are concerned that might put them over the threshold for losing their benefits.

In some ways, this is a valid concern. Since SSI is evaluated every month and available only to low-income people, the thought is that a big check might cause a problem. However, it’s very rare that a tax return check will cause someone to lose their eligibility for SSI benefits. Read about how your tax refund could affect your SSI eligibility, and how a qualified Social Security attorney can provide advice and help.

SSI Eligibility

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It’s a form of monthly payment from the Federal government that is designed to provide assistance to those in need. It’s available to people who are blind, elderly, or suffer from a disability. There are certain financial requirements that must be met—individuals must be low income and have little in terms of assets.

Every month, the Social Security Administration will assess your monthly assets and financial eligibility to be sure that you still have SSI eligibility. SSI rules require that as of the first day of the month, you may not have measurable resources of over $2,000, or $3,000 for couples. This can be cash in the bank, or personal property except for specific exemptions.

SSI Exemptions

Property exemptions from countable assets include your home, a vehicle, burial plots, household goods, and life insurance policies with a value of $1,500 or less. Federal and state advanced tax credits and tax refunds are exempt from being counted as assets as well, for up to 12 months. This means you have to be sure you spend the refund within 12 months, or you could stand to lose your benefits.

Likewise, earned income tax credit and child tax credit payments are exempt but must be used within 9 months of receiving them.

Tax Refunds and the Income Limit

This year, the SSI income limit is $735 per month for singles and $1,103 for married couples. Not all income, however, is countable towards this limit. $65 per month you earn and half the wages above that are exempt from the limit. There are a few other exemptions that can come into the picture as well.

Social Security Attorneys

While a certified tax professional is always your best bet, your Social Security attorney can also be an excellent resource for helping to determine what portion of your income and assets can count towards your SSI eligibility. If you’re in need of help learning whether or not you are eligible to receive SSI, or if you need help with an application or denial, Dr. Bill LaTour can help. Dr. LaTour has years of experience in this area and is ready to help. Give our law offices a call for a consultation about your case today.