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How Do Living Arrangements Affect SSI Benefits?

social security for in-kind living arrangements

Understanding the Supplemental Security Income (SSI program) can be challenging. There are limits on your resources and income, but not all resources and income apply. On top of that, your actual SSI benefits may change according to your living arrangements. All of this can make it difficult to know how much you can receive and if it’s worth applying. We can help. Call Dansby Law at 334-834-7001 to explore your options now.

Different Living Arrangements

A wide range of living arrangements are accounted for in SSI benefits, including:

  • Living on your own in a home or apartment where you pay full rent
  • Living on your own in a home or apartment where someone else pays some or all of your rent
  • Living in someone else’s household and paying fair rent
  • Living in someone else’s household and not paying rent
  • Residing in a group home facility
  • Residing in a hospital or nursing home

Arrangements That May Reduce Your SSI

Many of these living arrangements may lead to a decrease in your SSI payments. It’s important to know about these calculations before you apply, as this helps you understand how much you may receive. Some arrangements that may decrease your SSI benefits include:

  • Living with someone else and paying less than market rate for rent or other housing expenses, including utilities
  • Living on your own and having someone else pay some or all of your housing expenses
  • Living in a hospital or nursing home and having Medicaid pay for more than half of your care expenses (note that this may not apply if you are in the facility for less than 90 days)

Many wonder how this applies to those who live in a homeless shelter. Someone residing in a homeless shelter for up to six months out of a nine-month period can receive their full SSI benefits.

The Role of In-Kind Support and Maintenance

In-kind support and maintenance refers to the idea that someone else paying for your housing expenses is essentially the same as someone giving you income or cash. Because of this, the amount paid towards your housing by other people may decrease your SSI benefits. In many situations, this does not apply. If you live alone and pay for your own living expenses, live with your spouse and children and receive no outside assistance for housing expenses, or live with other people and pay your own expenses your SSI benefits will not change.

If you receive in-kind support and maintenance, don’t automatically assume that you won’t receive any Supplemental Security Income. In fact, the full amount you receive in in-kind support is not subtracted from your SSI.

How Benefits Are Calculated for Different Living Arrangements

Currently, in-kind support and maintenance can only reduce your SSI payments by up to $284.66 monthly. This is known as the PMV or presumed maximum value. The PMV is one-third of the federal monthly SSI payment plus $20. Consider this scenario: you live in an apartment paid for by your parents. The apartment’s rent is $500 per month. The amount of $284.66 would be subtracted from your SSI benefits, but you would have $20 returned to you under the general income exclusion. You would subtract $264.66 from the SSI rate of $794 for a final payment amount of $529.34.

In another scenario, you live with your sister, who does not charge you any rent. By not charging you rent, she is essentially giving you the value of the rent every month. Assume that the rent for your bedroom would be $300 per month if she rented it on the open market. The PMV minus the $20 for the income exclusion would subtract $264.66 from your monthly payment of $794, for a total monthly payment of $529.34.

This also applies if some of your household expenses are paid by someone else. For example, if you have an electricity bill of about $100 per month and your parents pay it for you, that $100 would be subtracted from your SSI payment. It would actually be an $80 subtraction after you remove the general income exclusion.

Contact Dansby Law for Assistance with Your SSI Claim

Figuring out SSI payments can be daunting, but you can save yourself time, energy, and stress by working with a dedicated disability attorney. That’s where the team at Dansby Law comes in. Learn more about how we can help you through this process by reaching out online or calling us at 334-834-7001.

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