Pages: 1 2
Why Living Arrangements Matter When Applying for SSI Disability
Your living arrangement is one factor in determining your SSI eligibility and your payment amount when you are applying for SSI Disability. To be eligible for SSI Disability, in addition to meeting the disability qualifications and resource limits, your income, including in-kind income, must be within the income limits and you must be eligible based on your living arrangements. Social Security asks questions about where you live so that they can determine whether you are in a living arrangement that allows SSI payments and so that they can determine whether you are receiving in-kind support and maintenance from other members of the household. Food or shelter that you receive for free or for which you pay less than the fair market value is in-kind support and maintenance. All or part of its value is income used to reduce your SSI payment.
Living Arrangement Defined
For SSI your living arrangement is where you live, who else lives with you, and who pays for the food and shelter costs. You may live in a public or private institution such as a jail, a nursing home, or shelter, or you may live in a private residence by yourself or with others.
Residing in an Institution
If you are an adult, you may be eligible for a small amount of SSI if you live in an institution such as a nursing home where Medicaid pays more than fifty percent of your care. If you are a disabled child, you may be eligible for SSI if Medicaid and/or private insurance pays more than half of your care. The maximum Federal Benefit Amount for an individual residing in such a living arrangement is $30.00 monthly, though some states offer a supplementary payment. This modest amount is intended to cover incidentals that are not provided by the institution. The $30 maximum will be reduced by any countable income you have. For a discussion of countable income, visit our article “When I Complete My SSI Application Form, It Asks Me to Declare My Income. Does All My Income Affect My SSI?“
Regardless of your SSI disability status, you are not eligible for SSI disability benefits if you are residing in a public institution where Medicaid does not pay more than fifty-percent of your care. Examples of such institutions are jails, prisons, and some nursing homes. One exception is living in a public institution mainly to attend an approved education or job training program. Another exception is living in a publicly operated community residence that serves no more than sixteen people. Also, it’s worth noting that some publicly operated community residences are not considered public institutions.
If you enter a medical facility and your physician expects you will be in the institution for ninety days or less and you need your SSI to maintain the living arrangement you had before you entered the institution, your SSI benefits may continue at the regular rate.
In-kind Support and Maintenance Defined
If someone pays for all or part of your rent, mortgage, utilities (excluding telephone), or food by paying the bills directly or buying the food, then you are receiving in-kind support and maintenance, which is a type of unearned income.
The maximum amount of in-kind support and maintenance that will be used to lower your SSI benefit is an amount equal to one-third of the SSI Federal Benefit Amount, plus $20. In 2016, one-third of the maximum is $244.33. This amount changes as the SSI Federal Benefit Amount increases due to cost-of-living adjustments. If you have no other income, the first $20 of support and maintenance will be excluded. See our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Decide How Much SSI to Pay Me When I Get an SSI Approval?” for information about cost of living adjustments.
If you live with your ineligible spouse and you both receive in-kind support and maintenance and there is income deemed to you, then the maximum amount of support and maintenance that can be charged is one-sixth of the Federal Benefit Amount, plus $10.00
Pages: 1 2