Can Someone on Supplemental Security Income Inherit a House?

Supplemental Security Income recipients can lose their asset status if they inherit a second home that’s not their primary residence. If a recipient only has one residence, then they can continue to receive benefits if that residence is indeed their primary one.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based cash assistance program that’s an additional lifeline for those disabled and/or unable to work. To be eligible for benefits, an applicant cannot have more than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for a married couple), and a common question involves house ownership and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at that asset.

Home Ownership Rules for SSI Recipients

An applicant’s residence that he or she owns does not count towards SSI assets. However, the home listed must be a primary residence (not a vacation home). If the applicant has two homes, the non-primary residence could be counted as an asset. Additionally, any land the home sits on and other buildings on the primary residence grounds are excluded from the asset resource count. This extends to mobile homes, motorhomes, or other non-traditional dwellings as long as they are the primary residence of the applicant.

Second Home Inheritance

If an SSI recipient inherits a second home, then that home could eventually be a part of the applicant’s resources. This happens if the home is considered “saleable” with no impediments to a sale (such as contested ownership or other litigation). If the latter is the case, the home is excluded from the asset count. If the second home has a co-owner that would otherwise be homeless if he or she didn’t live there, it is also taken out of the asset count.

Conditional Payments

If a recipient receives a second home that they do not need to live in as a primary residence, then SSI benefits would likely stop as that home would put him or her over the asset threshold. One way to potentially continue receiving benefits is to sign a conditional agreement with the SSA stating that once the second home sells, the recipient would repay any benefits equal to the amount of the sale. If the proceeds plus other resources do not exceed the resource limit in the following month, benefits would continue.


If you or a loved one is receiving SSI and is in line to inherit some sort of property, it’s important to understand how that could affect the overall benefits structure. Call Schott Law today at (509) 328-5789 to learn more about why Washington residents trust the firm to guide them through tough Social Security claims issues.