Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

SSI Question Car Ownership

Does anyone know if someone on SSI can own a car in their name and not have it affect their monthly SSI payment?

It is time for my son to have his own car, but I was not sure about this. He has been driving my car for the past few years, and he has demonstrated (so far) that he’s an excellent driver. And that’s his most favorite thing to do.

And I would really like to have my car back.

Thanks for any input on this


Pretty sure that with SSI he can have 1 car (not 2), but investigate if there are value guidelines. I always call our local Social Security Office here in Orange County, Ca. and they’re always so helpful and nice, oddly. My son would have a hard time passing the test, so kudos to your son! I’m definitely jealous that he’s hitting the road! Congratulations!


Hi @skyler.hayden, I had a feeling you would be the one to respond. You sound very knowledgeable about benefit related questions for the disabled as well as benefit questions for the caregiver.

I did call our Social Security office here in Wilkesbarre in PA, and you are correct, they are allowed 1 car and it does not affect their benefits. Also 1 house as long as they reside in the house. But I said the chances of him owning a home in his name would be slim to none based on his SSI benefits. However, I could own the home & let him live there, and have him pay me rent.

I’m actually considering this route for him because I simply can’t stand his apartment anymore, and how the rent keeps going up for such a horrific looking place. Also he would never have to worry about being evicted.

The man I spoke to @ the Social Security office answered many questions and went above and beyond.

Driving is the only thing he looks forward to. I’m trying to have him sign up for Doordash. He would feel like he was accomplishing something. I’m almost afraid to say how long he’s been stable, I don’t want to jinx it.

Thanks for the input. I hope things are going well. for you.

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Yes, my son lives with me and pays rent - best scenario for us right now as he is still working on stability. Rents are just SO ridiculous and all surrounding section 8 wait lists are closed - for years to come. I applied for Habitat For Humanity housing, but that’s a long shot, but I have to and will always try. Owning is really the best way for our loved ones because as you stated, they can’t be evicted out of somewhere they own. He wants his own apartment, but he states he won’t be taking his medication when he moves out, so that’s on a hard hold for now. He’ll be kicked out so fast. Don’t jinx anything! All is well on this end, have an amazing day! :heart:


My son and I are on SSDI and I don’t recall the car question ever coming up. I am sure one car would be fine.

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@Catherine, how are things going for you? I was thinking about you the other day when I was considering having my son live with me. He has been stable and insightful and for the most part reciprocal when it comes to conversations. He still has major issues keeping his apartment (and himself) clean. His clothes smelled so bad on thanksgiving I told him he could no longer come here to visit unless he washed his clothes. I could tell he followed thru, no smell when I saw him again. But maybe I should just leave a good thing alone.

I would like to have him eventually live with me as I get older, it would just be so much more of an easier transition for him to move in while I’m alive, since I’m leaving him the house anyway.

Hope you are well

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I am doing well and so is my son. Thanks for asking. There’s probably a lot to consider when thinking of cohabitating. Like will he give up some things he does for himself because you will do them, since you’re mom? You probably don’t want him to lose any self care skills if he cooks or cleans or makes appointments or handles his meds etc.

Not saying you would but as a mom who tends to do everything it has been my greatest struggle to realize when I am doing things for my son that he could likely do for himself. The time when he could literally do nothing seems so close at hand but actually it was many years ago now. Slowly he is doing more and more.

I think the upside to your son being with you is that you can be there to encourage and redirect and also solid companionship, much easier to go for a walk together or cook together or just watch a movie together. Plus daily hugs are priceless. I think another thought is will he be able to stay in your home long term if anything happened to you?

Believe it or not I am trying to be a first time home buyer after renting my entire life. I mean I was always a single mom living paycheck to paycheck so I could never imagine owning my own home or condo or whatever. BUT I recently took a home buying class through HUD and they really made it clear that it is a strong possibility I can do it. My reasoning is I want to get something bought and paid for to leave for my son so that all he will have to manage is the utilities and his food.

He manages his medicines and his appointments really well. I might be biting off a lot but I have to remind myself that when I really put my mind to something it usually works. I hope whatever you decide that your son stays stable and that it works out for the very best for you and him. Have you asked him what he thinks about it? Might be interesting to hear what he says. Stay in touch and stay well. :slight_smile:


About cars, my son drove before he got really sick and has since lost his license long ago. I think he would be a very cautious driver but I see sometimes he loses focus and doesn’t realize it. I hope in the next couple of years to see about him getting his license back again and take him on some trial driving experiences to see how he manages. I’d like to be able to leave him a house and my car. Time will tell.

I own my home and have next to no debt. I do believe he would be able to manage just the taxes & utilities after I’m gone. I’m just trying to make things as easy as I can for him with all the red tape and paperwork after I’m gone. He would get the house, and he would also have his own car.

I have a few concerns about us living together. Mainly, as you mentioned, I don’t want to “undo” the progress that he has made on his own. Taking meds, keeping dr appointments, going to the pharmacy for his refills, going grocery shopping on his own, occasionally preparing his meals, doing his own laundry etc. We are moms first, and knowing me, I feel like I would coddle him and do everything for him if he lived with me.

Also, and this may sound selfish, but I’ve gotten used to the peace and quiet of living alone and I do enjoy solitude. A quiet house just by myself. Not that he would be loud or anything, but it would take some adjusting to get used to the idea of another presence in the house.

I have not presented any ideas to him. These are just my own thoughts. But i know you often mention the 2 of you living together and that it’s going well, and I want that for my son and I too.

I know you had mentioned HUD before, I believe you said you were looking into home ownership. I truly hope you do end up with home ownership. It would be one less thing for you to worry about after you are gone.

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Our son owns his own car and it has not affected disability or SSI income payments.

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Sounds like you are thinking it through. I know what you mean about the solitude verses having company round the clock but for me, just going to my room when I need to or even going out by myself when I want to seems to keep me afloat. My son is really quiet and unobtrusive so it’s pretty easy for me.

I wanted to mention that in our county we have a program for people who are disabled and are homeowners that waives all or part of their property taxes yearly.Here in Ohio it’s called Homesteader’s Exemption and it may be different in different states if they have it. Might be worth the research or call your local tax department to find out. Real pleasure to chat with you stay well.

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Woah, HUD actually holds classes? Going to have to make a call asap! I’m considered a first time homebuyer and so is my son. I’m always looking for angles to buy because it really is the best way, but we live in Cali where a 200k home costs 750k, sigh! I’m saving, saving, saving money for this purpose and I’m currently building his credit for this purpose.

Oh, and I know that I’m super guilty of doing ‘mom’ duties, which my son could and should be doing. I actually got my first IHSS check for doing these duties which took 11 months and solid back and forth fighting to secure. I never back down, but this one was annoying for sure!


Please tell me more about HUD and the class that you took - very interested!


I’m in Ohio so I called the local office and they set me up with online classes via zoom. They were 2 consecutive Saturdays for 4 hours each. You get a certificate that you present at some point and it is suppose to be very helpful. I am currently in the “saving and improving credit score phase” and in February I will try to get pre approved for a loan and then move on from there. I had a pretty low credit score starting out and in 3 months I’ve raised it 100 points so I am pretty hopeful. My income is pretty low so I may not be able to afford a house but possibly a condo or a prefab type house something like that. I highly recommend calling your local HUD office. So far they have been very helpful and the classes were super informative. I’m doing all of this for my son. I never want him to worry about being evicted or asked to move. Good luck.


Oh, thank you for the information! I’ll get enrolled in the class asap. My credit was ruined from my divorce, but year by year I chipped away until it is now excellent. I carry very little debt, basically enough for my credit reporting and it’s so liberating. Paying off all my cards my Prius was such a great feeling - it’s so low maintenance. I opened a card for my son to establish his credit to help with qualifying. My income, our income is pretty low as well for qualifying, but I’ll always try. I totally understand doing everything for your son, that’s how I roll as well. Good luck and keep pushing!


Yes, he can have his own car.

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