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.

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. Here are some more examples of living arrangements and how they affect the amount of recipients’ disability benefits.

*Individual living in another individual’s household and sharing expenses.

  • Only income is SSI.
  • There are four people in the household. Other members of the household include a sibling and two uncles in a home that the sibling is in the process of purchasing.
  • The mortgage payment is $700.
  • The average monthly bills are $200 for electricity, $100 for water and sewer, and $600 for food.
  • Thus, total monthly expenses are $1600.

Expenses must be divided by four since there are four members of the household, thus the share of expenses for each is $400 per month. If the claimant pays his or her full share of $400 for the household expenses, there would be no reduction of benefits and the full monthly amount of $735 would be paid as SSI benefits. If the claimant pays less than $400, the difference would constitute in-kind support and maintenance and the application of the one-third reduction rule would reduce benefits by $245.00 so the monthly SSI benefit would be $490.00.

*Individual living in a house rent-free

  • $300 of SSI benefits is received monthly.
  • Claimant pays for all food and utilities.

It is determined that the house would rent for $900 per month if the claimant’s sibling rented it on the open market. The rent-free house is counted as in-kind support and maintenance. Although the value of the rent-free house is $900 per month, $265.00 is treated as in-kind support and maintenance. For example:

$735.00 (SSI Federal benefit rate)

$300.00 (Social Security benefits)
– $20.00 (general exclusion)
= $280.00 (countable Social Security benefits)

$735.00 (SSI Federal benefit rate)
– $280.00 (countable Social Security benefits)
= $455.00 (sub-total)

$455.00 (sub-total)
– $265.00 (the reduction due to in-kind support and maintenance)
= $190.00 (SSI benefit amount)

Applicants should not wait to apply for benefits as the process may move less than expeditiously. Once an applicant believes that he or she may be eligible for benefits, contact with an experienced disability attorney is more than useful. The earliest that SSI benefits are paid is the month after the filing date of a claimant’s application, or the month after all the eligibility requirements are first met, whichever is later. Thus, time is of the essence when it comes to completing and filing an application. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Examples Of How A Living Arrangement Affects SSI Part 2