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Buying a home while on social security

buying a home while on social security

Home ownership does not prevent someone from qualifying for SSI.

Home ownership does not prevent someone from qualifying for SSI.

Depending on their circumstances, individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits can own homes without losing benefits. SSI rules don't count some types of property, such as a primary residence, against an individual's eligibility for benefits. Some home ownership programs can also help SSI recipients qualify for a mortgage with no disruption in benefits.


SSI is a government program that provides cash benefits to individuals with few assets and a very low income. To qualify for SSI, an individual must have a disability, be visually impaired or be over 65. Once a person receives approval for SSI, she may also be eligible for additional government benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid. The Social Security Administration manages the SSI program.

SSI Resources

When a person applies for SSI benefits, she must submit documentation of her income and assets. As of 2013, an individual who applies for SSI cannot have assets valued at more than ,000. If the individual is married, the couple's assets cannot be more than ,000. However, not all assets count toward the ,000 to ,000 limits. The home that you live in, as well as the land on which it stands, is considered your primary residence and is not counted as an asset.

Home Buying Restrictions

Buying a home while you're on SSI can be a challenge, particularly since SSI rules limit the amount of income or assets that you can have and still remain eligible for benefits. For example, since the program limits the amount of money you can have in a standard savings or investment account, it's difficult to save up for a down payment. It can also be difficult to earn enough money to qualify for a mortgage while keeping your benefits.

Home Buying Programs

Despite SSI restrictions on income and asset ownership, some government and private programs help SSI recipients purchase homes. If you're already living in Section 8 housing or participate in the Housing Choice voucher program, you may be able to purchase your home through your local public housing authority. Other programs include the Fannie Mae HomeChoice program, which requires a very low down payment as well as opening an Individual Development Account. IDAs are federally funded savings accounts in which you can save money toward a down payment. The government then matches your savings up to a certain limit. Money saved in IDAs doesn't count against your SSI asset limit. You may also qualify for assistance through state housing programs or even a charity such as Habitat for Humanity. Program availability depends on where you live and the demand for assistance in your area.


Accurately report your assets to the Social Security Administration to keep your benefits current. If your assets are greater than that allowed by SSI rules, you may have to repay the amount of SSI benefits you received. The Social Security Administration regards not reporting new income or assets as fraud. If convicted, you may face criminal penalties, such as fines and prison time.

About the Author

Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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  1. Vedecafijege

    Maybe it"s not that u called it a big win ( they were favored at home ) , but didn"t call Carolina"s game a big win ( underdog on the rd ) ?

  2. Napaligibas

    Troy set an attendance record for its home opener against an in-state FCS team today. Would love to say the same thing here next week.

  3. Fedosuwafa

    Good luck Really looking forward to this too. First home win, come on Burnley!

  4. Webineboneyi

    Just shy of 1000, on the home stretch of this chapter

  5. Qivevod

    Tm I"m staying home. not spending any money catching up on all my assignments

  6. Bayaqoqu

    Listened to the Cocteau Twins on my drunk bike home I will effing fight you

  7. Rucucixenow

    Laying on my sheetless mattress in my pitch-black house, all alone, playing My Heart Will Go On on the recorder, waiting for S to come home

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