Are You Allowed to Have a Savings Account While on Social Security Disability?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · April 30, 2024 · 7 minute read

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Are You Allowed to Have a Savings Account While on Social Security Disability?

If someone is applying for disability benefits, they may be relieved to learn that, yes, you can have a savings account while on Social Security disability. While there are certain financial factors that can disqualify someone from Social Security eligibility, having a savings account is not one of those factors.

But of course, there are some subtleties to be aware of with any benefits matter, so it’s important to take a closer look. Among the points to learn are the difference between SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), who is eligible for Social Security disability benefits, and what the guidelines are for having a savings account while receiving benefits.

What Is Social Security?

There’s a reason the Social Security program is so well known: It has been providing financial support to Americans for many decades. Social Security benefits are designed to help maintain the basic well-being and protection of the American people. These benefits have been around since the 1930’s in response to the economic crisis caused by the Great Depression.

Today, one in five Americans currently receive some form of Social Security benefits — one third of those are disabled, dependents, or survivors of deceased workers. More than 10 million Americans are either disabled workers or their dependents.

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Can I Get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income with a Savings Account?

You may be thinking you can’t have that kind of asset if you want to qualify for Social Security Disability funds. However, it is indeed possible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income if you have a checking or a savings account.

Even better, it doesn’t matter how much money is held in that account. There are other program requirements that must be met to qualify for SSDI, but how much money someone has or doesn’t have in the bank isn’t one of them.

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Eligibility for SSDI

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, the individual must have worked in a job or jobs that were covered by Social Security and have a current medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. Generally, this program can benefit those who are unable to work for a year or more due to a disability.

It provides monthly benefits until the individual is able to work again on a regular basis. If someone reaches full retirement age while receiving SSDI benefits, those benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits maintaining the same amount of financial support.

Eligibility for SSI

If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, there is a limit on how much you can have in savings. SSI is a federal support program that receives funding from the type of taxes known as general tax revenue, not Social Security taxes.

This program provides financial support to help recipients cover basic needs such as clothing, shelter, and food. It provides aid to those who are aged (65 or older), blind, and disabled people who have little or no income (or limited resources). To qualify, participants must be a U.S. citizen or national, or qualify as one of certain categories of noncitizens.

What You Have to Tell SS about Your Assets if You Want Benefits

There are certain assets (in this case, they’re known as resources) that must be disclosed in order to qualify for benefits through the SSI program. Typically, to receive benefits, one can’t own more than $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple in what the SSA deems “countable resources.” However, there aren’t any such limits in place for the SSDI program.

The value of someone’s resources (aka their financial assets) can help determine if they are eligible for Social Security benefits. If a recipient has more resources than allowed by the limit at the beginning of the month (when resources are counted), they won’t receive benefits for that month. They can be eligible again the next month if they use up or sell enough resources to fall below the limit.

Eligible resources can include:

•   Cash

•   Bank accounts (checking account, regular savings account, growth savings account; whatever you have)

•   Stocks, mutual funds, and U.S. savings bonds

•   Land

•   Life insurance

•   Personal property

•   Vehicles

•   Anything that can be changed to cash (and can be used for food and shelter)

•   Deemed resources

The term “deemed resources” refers to the resources of a spouse, parent, parent’s spouse, sponsor of a noncitizen, or sponsor’s spouse of the Social Security benefits applicant.

A certain amount of these deemed resources are subtracted from the overall limit. For example, if a child under 18 lives with only one parent, $2,000 worth of deemed resources won’t count towards the limit. If they live with two parents, that amount rises to $3,000.

Recommended: What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

How Much Can I Have in My Savings Account and Receive SSI or SSDI?

For the SSI program, the total resource limit (which includes what’s in a checking account) can not be more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Again, there are no asset limits when it comes to the SSDI program. If someone is applying for the SSDI program, they can surpass that $3,000 limit, and it won’t matter as it doesn’t apply to them.

SSA Exceptions and Programs

Not every asset someone owns will count towards the SSI resource limit (remember, there is no such limit for the SSDI program). For the SSI program, there are some exceptions regarding what counts as a resource. The following assets aren’t taken into consideration:

•   The home the applicant lives in and the land they live on

•   One vehicle—regardless of value—if the applicant or a member of their household use it for transportation

•   Household goods and personal effects

•   Life insurance policies (with a combined face value of $1,500 or less)

•   Burial spaces for them or their immediate family

•   Burial funds for them and their spouse (each valued at $1,500 or less)

•   Property they or their spouse use in a trade or business or to do their job

•   If blind or disabled, any money they set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support

•   Up to $100,000 of funds in an Achieving a Better Life Experience account established through a State ABLE program

The Takeaway

When applying for Social Security benefits, having a savings account may or may not impact your eligibility. It depends on which program you are applying for. It is possible to have a savings account while receiving SSDI benefits. It’s also possible to have a savings account while receiving SSI, but there are limits regarding how much the value of the applicant’s assets (including what’s in their savings accounts) can be worth to qualify for support.

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How much money can I have in a savings account while on Social Security?

Personal assets aren’t taken into account, including savings, when applying for the SSDI program. For SSI, however, countable resources (including savings accounts) are capped at $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.

Does Social Security look at your bank account?

That depends. If someone is applying for Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) benefits, their personal assets are taken into consideration when it comes to eligibility. With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applicant assets aren’t taken into consideration.

What happens if you have more than $2,000 in the bank on SSI?

If you have more than $2,000 in the bank and are on SSI as an individual (more than $3,000 if you are part of a couple), you will not receive benefits for that month. Your finances will be evaluated the following month to see if your assets have fallen and you therefore qualify.

Does Social Security check your bank account every month?

Money in the bank doesn’t affect Social Security disability benefits. However, there is a $2,000 to $3,000 limit (varies by household) for the SSI program.

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