Can I Draw Social Security Disability & Own a Rental Property?

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The Social Security Administration offers two income programs for people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Whether or not you can own rental property and receive benefits depends in part on which program you qualify for and how much rental income you make. It also matters if rental income is considered earned or unearned under SSA rules.

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SSI Means Testing

SSA pays SSI benefits based on need to people with disabilities who don't qualify for SSDI or whose SSDI benefits are low. Owning rental property will usually disqualify someone from getting benefits, because an SSI recipient can own no more than $2,000 in assets or, for married couples, $3,000. Also, the benefit amount starts to decrease when unearned income exceeds $20 per month or earned income tops $65 per month.

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SSDI Income Limits

When a person with a disability has worked and paid Social Security tax long enough, she can qualify for SSDI benefits. There is no limit on owning assets as with SSI, but there are income limits. As of 2014, an SSDI recipient with monthly earned income exceeding $1,070, or $1,800 if blind, can lose his benefits. Income from renting a room or a single unit usually counts as unearned income and does not affect SSDI benefits. However, if the rental property income is considered self-employment earnings, it is earned income and counts against the applicable income limit.

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