If you’re on Social Security disability, you may wonder if there are ways to supplement your income. Medically disabled people can receive Social Security disability if they cannot work a traditional job. But can they be a landlord and own a rental property?
The Social Security Administration offers two income programs for people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Whether you can own a rental property and receive benefits depends on which program you qualify for and how much rental income you make.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Individuals who have worked enough to be insured and have paid into the Social Security system through their taxes, will receive SSDI benefits if they are found to be medically disabled.
The SSDI program has no asset limits, so owning a rental property would not prohibit you from getting Social Security disability benefits. SSDI also does not have a limit on the amount of unearned income you have, such as money from investments, cash gifts, or inheritance.
However, keep in mind that SSDI has limits on how much income you can earn and still qualify for benefits. As of 2021, the maximum amount of money a non-blind, disabled worker can earn while receiving SSDI benefits is $1,310 per month. If you exceed this monthly limit, Social Security may determine that you are no longer eligible and will revoke your benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program, and it helps disabled individuals who have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI. Individuals must meet income and asset limits to qualify for this program, including not owning multiple properties or cars.
The SSI program has the same income limit as SSDI initially (remember that $1,310 per month?). However, after you’re approved for benefits, your SSI payment will be reduced if you earn over $85 per month, meaning that the more you earn, the less you will receive in SSI benefits.
Your benefits could be terminated altogether if you exceed Social Security’s boundaries, and it is crucial to stay up to date with SSI policy changes.
Word of Caution
While you can own a rental property if you are on Social Security disability, it depends on which benefits you are receiving and the limitations set by Social Security.
You also want to avoid offering services to your tenant beyond normal care and maintenance of the property, or the government may consider you to be in good health and not medically disabled.
A good property management company can help you maintain your property, make a profit, and keep your tenants happy.