How Can Social Security Disability Benefits Be Affected by Changes in Living Arrangements?
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are essential programs that provide financial support to people unable to work due to disability. There are many significant differences separating these programs, although they are both managed by the SSA. One key difference is how a change in living arrangements may affect your benefits.
If you’re planning a move and are concerned about your disability benefits changing or being terminated, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-326-6449 to schedule a meeting with our team.
Why SSI is Affected and SSDI is Not
While there is some overlap in how SSDI and SSI function, one of the main differences is in the programs’ qualifications. Both require that you prove your disability to the SSA through extensive medical documentation, However, the other qualifications you must meet differ. The SSDI is a program you pay into throughout the course of your career.
When you find yourself unable to work due to disability, you can access those benefits because of your work history and earned credits. It is not a need-based program. SSI does not require any work history or earned credits; it is a need-based program. If your assets or income change—even if it’s not technically income, as we’ll discuss shortly—your benefits could be impacted.
As a general rule, a change in living arrangements does not affect SSDI benefits, but it does impact your SSI benefits. If you pay for your own living arrangements, the SSA expects that your living expenses will be significantly higher than those of someone who lives with their parents or friends. When someone is getting partial or full support from a friend, family member, or other loved one, the SSA may decrease their benefits accordingly.
How Moving Could Impact Your SSI Payments
Where you live and who pays your living expenses are two factors that play a big role in your SSI payments. If you live alone and pay your own expenses, you’ll receive the full amount of benefits that you qualify for. The same is true if you live with someone else and pay your fair share of rent, food, and other expenses. In other arrangements, the SSA may reduce your benefits.
Some changes that lead the SSA to reduce your benefits include:
- Living in another person’s home and not paying your fair share of housing costs and food
- Someone else paying for your food and housing costs while you live alone
- Being in a hospital or nursing home for the entire month while Medicaid pays for at least half of your care
- Being in a medical treatment facility while Medicaid pays for more than half of your care
If you will be in a medical institution for less than 90 days, your benefits may not be affected. It’s important to talk to an attorney about SSI benefits for those who are temporarily institutionalized.
Why do these arrangements affect your benefits? The support you get from other people is considered in-kind support and maintenance. In-kind support and maintenance refers to someone else paying your rent, mortgage, food expenses, or utilities.
Navigating Your Options as an SSI Recipient
This doesn’t mean that applying for benefits isn’t worth it if you receive in-kind support and maintenance. The SSA uses a set of complex calculations to determine how much of the support you receive counts against your benefits. For example, in one example calculation they provide, having a relative pay your rent of $800 would reduce your benefits by just over $300.
We understand that this can be overwhelming. Navigating major changes is hard enough, but it’s even more stressful when your financial stability is on the line. Discussing your options with an attorney can help you understand what will happen to your benefits after a move.
Confused About If Moving is Safe? Contact the Dansby Law Firm Today
If you’re considering a move, but you don’t want to risk your benefits, let’s talk about your situation and your options. Set up a consultation with the Dansby Law Firm now by reaching out online or calling us at 334-326-6449.