Can I Give Away Money and Still Retain My SSI Benefit?

I receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  If I suddenly receive $10,000, can I immediately gift the money to my adult child who does not have special needs and still maintain SSI eligibility?

If an SSI recipient gifts money, she could lose up to three years of SSI eligibility. In order to calculate the period of ineligibility, the amount transferred is divided by the transferor’s monthly SSI benefit (including state supplement), rounding the result up or down to the nearest whole number.

For example, Eric, who receives SSI benefits ($889.40/month in 2016), receives $30,000 from his grandmother at her death. He gives his entire inheritance to his brother.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) divides the transferred amount ($30,000) by Eric's SSI benefit ($889.40) to determine the ineligibility period (33.73 or, rounded up, 34 months). Eric is ineligible for SSI for almost 3 years.

For more about transfers and SSI, click here.

Article Last Modified: 04/26/2016

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