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  1. #1

    Default SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    My elderly mother recently moved into senior subsidized housing and is selling her small townhouse. Can anyone tell me how to put this money aside for her without her losing her eligibility for housing or any other benefits, including a small food stamp allotment.

    Please! And Thank you.

    Edited to clarify, She is going to gift most of the small amount of money to my daughter and myself, my question is more about how much she is allowed to keep without losing her benefits.

    There is no intent, as a poster on another forum suggested, to commit fraud.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    If she sells her home, she can expect that to trigger spend-down requirements for means tested benefits. If she gives away the money during a lookback period, she can expect that it will cause a delay in her qualification for means-tested benefits. She can talk to an estate planning lawyer who handles elder law and Medicaid issues about possible alternative approaches.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    This is called keeping her cake and eating it too question. I will just answer the SSI part of it. Don't know about subsidized housing or food stamps.

    SSI has a 36 month look-back period for transferring assets for less than the market value. Unless it can be proven that the transfer is done for exclusively a reason other than qualifying for SSI, the amount of the transferred funds/assets is divided by the federal benefit and the state supp in her state and the resulting number of months are considered a period of ineligibility and no SSI payment. Since you have already stated the reason to give away her assets is to keep her public assistance benefits, it is highly unlikely that you could prove a reason other than qualifying for public assistance. Medicaid and food stamps may have longer look-back periods.

    Although I can understand the desire to pass along her assets to her child, it sounds like the taxpayers have already done her a service by letting her keep her home to live in while providing her with food and possibly cash (SSI) to live on. A reason to buy a home is both to have a place to live and to have an asset to tap into to pay for the cost of care as a person gets older so the burden of paying for her care is not shifted to the government i.e. the taxpayers.

    If she transfers the money to you, you then should be prepared to cover the cost of her care for at least three years or possibly five.

    SSI allows up to $2000 in personal resources, generally in the form of bank accounts; one home that is lived in; $1500 in targeted burial funds; unlimited value of burial space items; one vehicle of any value and most household goods. Pretty much everything else is a countable resource.

  4. #4

    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    Quote Quoting Janke
    View Post
    This is called keeping her cake and eating it too question. I will just answer the SSI part of it. Don't know about subsidized housing or food stamps.

    SSI has a 36 month look-back period for transferring assets for less than the market value. Unless it can be proven that the transfer is done for exclusively a reason other than qualifying for SSI, the amount of the transferred funds/assets is divided by the federal benefit and the state supp in her state and the resulting number of months are considered a period of ineligibility and no SSI payment. Since you have already stated the reason to give away her assets is to keep her public assistance benefits, it is highly unlikely that you could prove a reason other than qualifying for public assistance. Medicaid and food stamps may have longer look-back periods.

    Although I can understand the desire to pass along her assets to her child, it sounds like the taxpayers have already done her a service by letting her keep her home to live in while providing her with food and possibly cash (SSI) to live on. A reason to buy a home is both to have a place to live and to have an asset to tap into to pay for the cost of care as a person gets older so the burden of paying for her care is not shifted to the government i.e. the taxpayers.

    If she transfers the money to you, you then should be prepared to cover the cost of her care for at least three years or possibly five.

    SSI allows up to $2000 in personal resources, generally in the form of bank accounts; one home that is lived in; $1500 in targeted burial funds; unlimited value of burial space items; one vehicle of any value and most household goods. Pretty much everything else is a countable resource.
    Hi, you mention that the SSI has a 36 month look-back period for transferring assets for less than the market value. Where are you getting this information? What is your source. I wanted to verify that information, because my understanding was that it is actually 60 months.

    Thanks
    Tom

  5. #5
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    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale


  6. #6

    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    janke, thank you very much for replying to my question. The links you provided were very informative.

  7. #7

    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    Janke-

    I wanted to get your input on something. It appears from the links that you suggested that the SSI look-back period is 3 years. Medicaid has a 5 year look-back period.

    However, if i'm understanding this correctly from the SSI website, if someone qualifies for SSI one would automatically qualify for Medicaid. What I don't understand is this: How could someone automatically qualify for Medicaid if they qualify for SSI, when the look back period for Medicaid is 5 years and for SSI it is only 3 years? It this some sort of a loophole in the system or am I just not understanding this correctly.

    Thank you

    Tom

  8. #8
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    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    LOOK UP THIS:
    SUPPLEMENTAL NEEDS TRUST (IN YOUR STATE)
    ASK ALSO AND ELDERLAW LAWYER.
    BEST if you were ever disabled. There are many
    pooled supplemental needs trusts for this type of purpose of
    shielding funds//while collecting benefits.


























  9. #9

    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    I don't think a Special Needs Trust will work because she already owns and is in control of the assets. A Special Needs Trust works if you are the beneficiary of the trust and not the trustee. A beneficiary does not have control over the funds, a trustee does. This would work best with a disabled child or adult child who, without a Special Needs Trust, would lose all of their federal benefits if they inherited let's say $50,000. Once that is spent they may not be able to qualify again or would have a long delay in receiving another eligibility decision. But maybe a Social Security or elder attorney would know what to do before she sells the townhouse. It won't hurt to have a brief consultation. It's a common concern.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: SSI, Subsidized Housing and Proceeds of Homestead Sale

    Quote Quoting astrosue
    View Post
    LOOK UP THIS:
    SUPPLEMENTAL NEEDS TRUST (IN YOUR STATE)
    ASK ALSO AND ELDERLAW LAWYER.
    BEST if you were ever disabled. There are many
    pooled supplemental needs trusts for this type of purpose of
    shielding funds//while collecting benefits.


    lbang:
    See, just what I said. Keep your money and ask the taxpayers to support you. Is this sort of behavior as reprehensible as corporations or Bernie Madoff types? Well, the dollar amount is significantly higher but the idea that I can keep my money and get taxpayers to pay for my bills is not much different. The mind-set is the same.

    But luckily, what Perther stated is probably correct. A special needs trust generally needs to be funded by assets that belong to someone other than an SSI recipient.

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