TN 204 (09-23)

SI 00830.550 Inheritances


Social Security Act as amended, Section 1612(a)(2)(D), 1612(a)(2)(E);
20 CFR 416.1121(e), 416.1121(g)

A. Policy

1. Definition

An inheritance is cash, a right, or a noncash item(s) received as the result of someone's death.

2. Inheritance as Income

An inheritance is a death benefit. See SI 00830.545.

NOTE: Until an item or right has a value (i.e., can be used to meet the heir's need for food or shelter), it is neither income nor a resource. The inheritance is income in the first month it has a value and can be used. (See SI 00810.005.)

3. Inheritance Already a Resource

An inheritance is not income to an individual if the inheritance is something which was considered that individual's resource (either as a member of an eligible couple or through deeming of resources) immediately before the death.

NOTE: The proceeds of a life insurance policy were not  a resource before the death. (See SI 00830.545D.)

4. Inheritance of a House

You must value the inheritance of a house which is used as shelter under the PMV rule in the month of receipt.

B. Procedure

1. General

Follow the instructions at SI 00830.545 pertaining to death benefits.

2. Establishing Date of Receipt

To establish when the inheritance is received, check for regional instructions which may explain the effect of individual State laws.

If regional instructions do not specify when an inheritance is “received”, assume the individual derives no income until the earliest of:

  • the date the individual alleges receiving the inheritance (using a statement either signed or recorded on a Report of Contact page from the individual or documents in the individual's possession); or

  • the date the estate is closed (which may be determined by contacting the court or an attorney involved in the closing of the estate).

3. Amount Received

  1. a. 

    Verify the amount or value of the inheritance using:

    • documents in the individual's possession;

    • a court order closing the estate;

    • a copy of the will; or

    • an estimate from a knowledgeable source, if real property is involved.

  2. b. 

    Based on what the inheritance is, apply the appropriate instructions for valuing what was received. Depending upon what has been received, some instructions will be found in SI 00810.005 (Income) and some in SI 01120.001 (Resources). See SI 00830.550C.

C. References

Receipt of certain noncash items, SI 00815.550

Presumed maximum value, SI 00835.300

Current market value, SI 00835.310

Trusts, SI 01120.200

Types of liquid resources, SI 01110.305

Inheritances and unprobated estates, SI 01120.215

Real property, SI 01130.100

Personal property—household goods and personal effects, SI 01130.430

Personal property—automobile, SI 01130.200

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SI 00830.550 - Inheritances - 09/27/2023
Batch run: 09/27/2023