Suppose you’re an individual over the age of 65, or you’re blind or disabled, and you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to meet your basic needs. You file a personal injury lawsuit, using Silver & Silver, the leading Social Security disability lawyers near Montgomery County, to fight for you.
Then, great news! Your attorney helps you win an insurance settlement.
Except, wait, there’s a problem. Your settlement income has bumped you above the line of eligibility for your SSI benefits. You need those benefits to survive, long-term. What can you do?
As reported in a recent article by the Legal Examiner, an excellent remedy for the above scenario is what’s called a “Spend Down.”
A Spend Down is spending the money you receive from your settlement, rather than saving it. Any lump sum received by a SSI beneficiary is considered income, and since SSI is a government service based on financial need, your excess cash makes it appear as if you don’t “need” SSI.
Obviously, that’s not the case. A Spend Down can help you retain your benefits, while also allowing you to purchase some high-priced necessities that maybe you couldn’t afford before the settlement.
You don’t need to spend it all. Just enough to bring you back down to the income level that qualifies you for SSI.
As the Legal Examiner explains, it’s best to “Spend Down” on your settlement money within the same month you received it, since SSI eligibility is assessed based on your monthly income. For that reason, a Spend Down works best for smaller settlements. The opportunity to go on a spending spree certainly sounds exciting, but it’s simply not that easy to unload a bunch of cash in a short time.
It’s also important to know what items are “exempt,” or not covered by SSI, and to use settlement money for those purchases.
Understanding how to manage an insurance settlement along with SSI benefits is not easy, and if you’re in a position to apply for a Spend Down, or have any questions about the process in general, contact Silver & Silver to confer with a top Social Security disability attorney near Camden, NJ.