Question:

My mother has insurance that provides her with a daytime caregiver. She has two policies that pay at once, each for the whole amount. So my parents actually get double. My father wants to know if he must take ma’aser off of the extra money. They paid so much for the policy over the years that I am inclined to imagine there is no possible way that you can consider this a gain. Any thoughts?

Answer:

I have a sefer called “B’orach Tzedaka”. The mechaber writes1)amud 133 note 31 that he asked Rav Nissim Karelitz about the halacha with regards to taking ma’aser from insurance payouts. His answer was that, in essence, insurance payouts are called “revach” (profitable income), however there are three stipulations here with regards to the obligation to take ma’aser:

  1. You would only consider the amount beyond the cost of the bill you need to pay with that insurance check to be called “profit”.
  2. This obligation to separate ma’aser is only true regarding types of insurance that you are not obligated to pay for by law in whatever country you live in.
  3. You may also subtract the amount of payments you made in premiums over the years from the so-called “profit”.

Therefore in your case they should be able to keep the money without ma’asering it since whatever extra they get from the second pay-out could hardly defray the cost of the payments they made over the years. I say this based on assumption as I don’t know what their premiums were in fact but you can help them figure it out.

References   [ + ]

1. amud 133 note 31