Tis’ the season for festive celebrations – and gifts! During the holidays, it’s a good idea to learn how gifts are viewed by Social Security for the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) programs.
Gifts Don’t Affect SSDI At All
Let’s start with the easy one: SSDI. Gifts do not affect SSDI at all! You don’t even have to report them to Social Security. So, if the only Social Security payment you get is SSDI (or a Childhood Disability or Disabled Widow Benefit) you can let Santa know that there’s no limit to what he can leave under your tree.
Your SSI Eligibility and Payment Amount May Be Affected by Gifts
On the other hand, SSI is a needs-based program. That means that your SSI eligibility and payment amount are affected by income. Social Security might count a gift as income - depending on what the gift is. If you receive cash or food, they typically count as income.
Social Security won’t count the following gifts when deciding SSI eligibility or payments:
Report to Social Security any cash or food gifts you receive. They will determine the nature of the gift and apply the appropriate rules.
Gifts and the SSI Redetermination Review
Social Security asks a routine question about gifts during the SSI redetermination review, which usually happens once a year. If you say that you received a gift, Social Security will normally accept a signed estimate of the value unless there is reason to doubt the estimate.
Contact your local social security office with specific questions about gifts and your benefits, and to report any cash or food gifts you receive. Happy holidays!