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Do living arrangements affect SSI-related benefits?

Supplemental Security Income is a Social Security disability program option for those who meet the criteria with their illness or condition as well as their financial situation. Tennesseans applying for SSI benefits need to know that it is based on need. There are different aspects of determining "need" that must be understood, including the applicant's living arrangements. Knowing the requirements and limits related to living arrangements for SSI-related benefits is key when considering applying for them.

The amount of SSI a person can receive will be influenced by where he or she lives. For example, someone who lives in his or her own residence and pays for shelter and food can get as much as the maximum amount of SSI that can be paid in the state. In addition, the maximum can be received while living in someone else's home if food and shelter costs are paid. Those who live in someone else's household and are not paying shelter or food expenses, though, can see their SSI reduced by as much as one-third of the federal benefit rate.

The SSI amount awarded to an individual is contingent on income, so living expenses are not factored into the equation. If food and shelter is provided by someone else, it might reduce SSI. The benefits will not be reduced if there is a spouse who is residing with the recipient and he or she is providing the food and shelter. One-third of the highest amount SSI plus $20 is the limit of what can be counted when looking at the food and shelter provided by another. Some items, like clothes and moderately priced jewelry, that cannot be used for food and shelter will not be considered income.

But these are not the only living arrangements an individual may face when seeking SSI. In general, those who are hospitalized or in some other institution are not eligible to receive SSI, or they may be eligible to receive up to $30 per month. People who are homeless can get the maximum amount of SSI and can even get subsidized housing. Those who live in a public shelter can get SSI for up to six out of the nine months they live in the shelter. These issues are of paramount importance when applying for SSI benefits. People who have concerns about these factors and others related to SSI benefits should make sure to discuss the matter with an attorney who is familiar with all aspects of Social Security disability.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Spotlight On Living Arrangements -- 2016 Edition," accessed on Nov. 28, 2016

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