SSI and Medicaid
SSI is an acronym for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This income is paid to individuals that have been determined to meet the definitions of “disabled” established by the rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration. In 2011, the maximum benefit is $674 per month. In most cases, the disabled individual has not had or has had a very limited work history. (Disabled persons with a sufficient work history are commonly eligible for Social Security Disability Income benefits, which is not an asset-sensitive program like SSI.)
To meet the SSI asset test, the disabled person can own very little. The disabled person is limited to no more than $2000 in assets, excluding a car and a home. Assets held in special needs trusts established by third parties, such as parents and family members, do not count. Assets previously owned by a disabled person but held in a first party trust established under OBRA 1993 (d4a or pooled trusts) also do not count.
In Florida, the receipt of $1 of SSI will allow the disabled person to achieve automatic enrollment in Medicaid for health insurance coverage and other programs. Eligibility for SSI may also allow the disabled person to be eligible for food stamps.
Gifts, cash or inheritances received directly by a SSI beneficiary must be reported to the Social Security Administration. And, without proper legal guidance, such receipt may result in the loss of the SSI benefit as well as loss of Medicaid health insurance coverage for long periods of time.