Can You Inherit Property While on Welfare?

Q. My aunt is gonna leave me a house when she dies. Will this affect my welfare benefits? (Boston, MA)

A. Welfare is a broad term encompassing a range of government programs. Generally, when people speak of “welfare” they are speaking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), MEDICAID, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Qualifying for these government programs requires that you fall below income and asset thresholds. In other words, if you make too much money or you have too much money, you will not receive benefits. This is in line with the legislature’s intent to provide temporary assistance to those who need it most.

Often, clients run into trouble when a family member passes and the client inherits a home. Although the inheritance seems promising, it is riddled with adversity. Homes are expensive to maintain. You must factor in insurance, gardening services, cleaning, exterior and interior maintenance, taxes, etc. Without a good income, it is easy to become overwhelmed in financial trouble.

MEDICAID and TANF will consider the home income and you can expect to have benefits suspended in the month you receive the home. All three programs, will analyze the value of the home. If the value of the home puts your assets above the threshold, then you can expect to have benefits suspended indefinitely.

If keeping the home is not an option for you, it may be possible to disclaim the inheritance and keep benefits. Thank your aunt, anyways.

Send in your questions by using the CONTACT tab above!

The information contained in this communication should not be construed as legal or tax advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Readers should not act upon the information contained in this communication without professional, independent counsel. Contents are intended for general information purposes only and may not be referred to in any other proceeding without the prior written consent of Thomas P. Bozarjian, to be given at his discretion. The information contained in this communication is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.  
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