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Conditional SSI benefits may be available for property owners

Michigan residents who wish to obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits may be aware that there are limitations on the amount of property a recipient may own and still obtain benefits. They may not be aware, however, that even if a person owns more than the permitted amount of property, which includes countable resources of more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, a person may still be able to receive what are known as conditional SSI payments.

A person may be able to obtain conditional payments if he or she agrees to sell his or her countable resources. Conditional payments may be available for a limited period of time depending on the nature of the resource a person is trying to sell. If a person is trying to sell real property, he or she may be able to obtain SSI benefits for up to nine months. A person trying to sell personal property so that his or her resources are below the threshold for benefits may be able to obtain conditional payments for up to three months. If a property owner needs more time, he or she may qualify for a longer period of conditional payments if he or she meets certain conditions imposed by the SSA.

In order to obtain conditional payments, a person must first sign what is known as the "agreement to sell property" form. The SSA must accept this agreement and be satisfied that a person is diligently trying to sell the property at issue. After selling required assets and qualifying for full SSI benefits, a recipient will have to pay back some of his or her conditional benefits, but he or she may continue to receive SSI benefits.

A Michigan resident who wants to obtain SSI benefits but believes he or she may need to sell certain property before qualifying for benefits may wish to speak with an attorney to discuss the process of selling assets, as well as the process of applying for SSI benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Spotlight On Getting SSI Benefits While You Try To Sell Excess Resources - 2015 Edition," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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