How to Prove the Undue Burden Rule

In general, to be eligible for SSI, you must not have more than $2,000 in assets. SSI does not count the value of any property you own if it is your principle residence. If you own an additional piece of property, you must "spend down" the property. This means to sell the property for fair market value and live off the proceeds until your resources fall below $2,000 or $3,000 for a family. The Undue Burden Doctrine states that the property can be excluded if the sale of the property would cause undue hardship to a co-owner.

There are a few things that you must have in order to prove Undue Burden.

First, you must prove that there is co-ownership in the property. This is done with a statement signed by both parties, a real estate document showing co-ownership such as a deed, tax bill, tax assessment notice, or current mortgage statement. For personal property, such as a mobile home, a title or current registration will work. For a life estate or other property rights, you can use a deed, a will, or other property rights documents.

Next, you must prove that selling the property would be anundue hardship on the co-owner. This is done by getting a statement from the co-owner saying that he or she uses the property as a primary place of residence. Also, the statement should point out that he or she would have to move if the property were sold andthat he or she has no other place to live that is readily available.

The Social Security claims representative must accept any reasonable statement from the co-owner stating that he or she has no other place to go.

If you own a piece a property and you have questions about whether or not you qualify for SSI, talk with your attorney who can help you understand this Doctrine as well as any other exceptions to the asset limit.

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