Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are needs based disability benefits and, as such, are subject to income and assets requirements.
Social Security Ruling (SSR) 94-5p sets forth the principle for whether Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits are counted as unearned income to a fiduciary recipient.
VA benefits are considered unearned income to an SSI recipient. However, VA benefits that are paid to a fiduciary are not counted as unearned income to the fiduciary. A fiduciary is someone who manages resources, such as money, for the benefit of another person.
A person may receive VA benefits on his own behalf and also be a fiduciary for another person’s VA benefits. For example, a Korean War veteran may receive VA benefits on his own behalf. Such benefits are counted as unearned income to the person for purposes of determining eligibility for and amount of SSI benefits. The same person may manage VA benefits of behalf of his brother, who is a Vietnam War veteran, who is incompetent to manage his own funds. The benefits received as a fiduciary by the Korean War veteran are not counted as unearned income to him, though they would be counted as unearned for his brother, for whom he manages the money. (Some different examples are given in the ruling cited above, but the same principle applies).
If you have any questions about the interaction of VA benefits and Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, it may be wise to consult with an experience disability lawyer.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.