A primary purpose of Social Security is to provide financial assistance to the disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses extensive income-related criteria to determine benefits. An applicant’s living arrangement is a factor used to determine how much Supplemental Security Income (SSI) he or she may receive.

A living arrangement is simply where a disability benefit applicant lives or resides. Examples include an owned or rented home, apartment, or institution such as a nursing home. A living arrangement also depends on who pays for food and shelter. Whether a claimant lives alone or with others, the SSA requires information as to who pays for a claimant’s food, shelter, and utilities. Here are some examples of common living arrangement situations.

*Individual living alone

  • Only income is SSI.
  • Sibling pays monthly rent of $800.

The sibling’s rent payment is counted as income in the form of in-kind support and maintenance. The effect of this amount of $800 is limited by the use of a presumed maximum value (PMV). The PMV is equal to 1/3 of the Federal benefit rate plus $20. For example:

  1. The 2017 SSI Federal Benefit Rate is $735.00
  2. One-third of the SSI Federal Benefit Rate of $735 is $245.00.
  3.    $245.00 (1/3 of the Federal Benefit Rate)
    +$20.00 (from the PMV rule)
    =$265.00 (the PMV of in-kind support and maintenance)
  4.    $265.00 (the PMV of in-kind support and maintenance)
    -20.00 (general income exclusion)
    = $245.00 (the amount of the reduction due to in-kind support and maintenance)

    5.    $735.00 (Federal Benefit Rate)
    -$245.00 (reduction due to in-kind support and maintenance)
    = $490.00 (SSI monthly benefit amount)

 *Individual living alone in a personally owned home

  • Only income is SSI.
  • Adult child pays the following utilities on a monthly basis: electric bill of $100, phone bill of $50, and cable TV bill of $75 per month.

The payment of both the phone and cable TV bills are not considered in-kind support and maintenance, thus these payments do not affect SSI benefits. However, payment of the $100 electric bill is counted as in-kind support and maintenance. Thus, the $20 general exclusion is applied to the $100 electric bill payment leaving $80 as countable in-kind support and maintenance. For example:

$735.00 (the SSI Federal Benefit Rate)

$100.00 (in-kind support and maintenance)
-$20.00 (general exclusion)
= $80.00 (the reduction due to in-kind support and maintenance)

$735.00 (SSI Federal Benefit Rate)
-$80.00 (the reduction due to in-kind support and maintenance)
= $655.00 (SSI monthly benefit amount)

Stay tuned to the next blog for more examples of living arrangements and how they affect the amount of recipients’ disability benefits.

The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help all applicants navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. One of the best ways to make sure you understand all of the rules and regulations associated with applying for disability benefits is to retain the services of an experienced, knowledgeable and qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so there is absolutely nothing to lose! Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online today!Examples Of How A Living Arrangement Affects SSI Part 1