Did You Receive a Third Stimulus Payment? If you, or loved one with a disability are on SSI benefits and you received any of the three stimulus payments, here is what you must know to protect your benefits and give yourself the flexibility you may need:

1. What is the stimulus payment?

Many people with disabilities recently received a third special payment from the government to spend any way they want to help the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money you may have received is often called a “stimulus payment” (officially an Economic Impact Payment). People with disabilities who receive monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSI) will get their stimulus money the same way they get regular SSI payments each month, either by paper check or direct deposit.  The stimulus payment is NOT an SSI benefit.  You can use the funds in any way you like.

2. How can the stimulus payment impact SSI benefits?

The SSA will not count the stimulus payment in its SSI asset/resource test for twelve months from when you receive the payment.  After that, the funds will be included in the asset/resource test and could reduce your benefits. Because of this, many SSI beneficiaries and their support networks feel pressure to spend the stimulus payment before they are ready to do so, or they spend the money on things they don’t need or want just to get the money out of their personal account. People who have IL ABLE accounts can alleviate this worry.

3. How can SSI beneficiaries protect themselves with an IL ABLE account?

If you receive SSI benefits and are eligible for an ABLE account you may want to consider putting the stimulus payment into an IL ABLE account.  By doing so, you won’t need to worry about the twelve-month clock that begins ticking with the SSA after your stimulus payment arrives. Putting all or part of a stimulus payment that you don’t need to spend right away, gives you flexibility to plan and save for a disability expense that may happen in the future. 

You can save for whatever you need to be independent and participate in your community.  That includes adaptive equipment, a vehicle, a home, assistive technology, personal support services, and many other expenses.  You can also use an ABLE account to save for emergencies. The funds will have the same benefits protection as all contributions made to an ABLE account.

Learn more about IL ABLE accounts at illinoisable.com.

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