Planning for care. For life.

Supplemental Security Income Updates – April 2024

Featured Image

National Care Advisors is advising that all recipients of Supplemental Security Income who currently have a 1/3rd reduction of their SSI benefit should request a Social Security Administration re-evaluation in October of 2024 to determine if their calculation for “In-Kind Support and Maintenance” (ISM) should be updated. Based on the new SSA policies, effective September 30, 2024, it is likely that many individuals will be eligible to receive their FULL SSI benefit when previously they had a 1/3rd benefit reduction due to financial assistance received for food and shelter from family, community or trust resources. The value of these new SSA policies to the individual may be in excess of $3,600 annually because of the adjustment in the ISM determination policies for food and shelter.

Based on our professional experience, it is unlikely that the Social Security Administration will proactively contact beneficiaries to raise their SSI benefits when these new policies take effect on September 30, 2024. NCA provides benefits advocacy services to assist clients through this process with the Social Security Administration to ensure that all benefits have been maximized.

The Social Security Administration has issued updated policies for “In-Kind Support and Maintenance” calculations specific to supportive funding from families, trusts, and other resources that are provided to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries for the purposes of food and shelter. Prior to these new policies going into effect, if a beneficiary received financial assistance from any source, including a trust or family member, for purchasing food, including restaurant meals, there was potential that their SSI benefit would be decreased by 1/3rd. Also, if a beneficiary received financial assistance to pay their rent or housing costs, their SSI benefit would be decreased.

Effective September 30, 2024, the SSA is omitting the requirement for applicants and beneficiaries to submit the cost of food expenses for the In-Kind Maintenance and Support calculation (ISM).

SSA will still ask the question: “Are others within the household paying for or providing the beneficiary with all their meals? If the applicant or recipient answers ‘‘no,’’ we will value the shelter using the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) rule. If the applicant or recipient answers ‘‘yes,’’ we will then evaluate the applicant’s or recipient’s shelter contribution to determine if the PMV rule or the Value of One-Third Reduction (VTR) rule applies. If the VTR rule does not apply, then we will evaluate any ISM under the PMV rule.”

The bottom-line outcome of this new rule is that an individual receiving SSI may now receive assistance for the cost of purchasing food or restaurant meals without risking a significant impact on their SSI benefit.

It is also important to analyze the method by which an adult individual beneficiary receives funds for food when living with others in a household. Note that there is a difference when answering “no or yes” as above and can make the difference between a 1/3rd reduction in the SSI benefit or retaining the entire benefit as it relates to the ISM calculation for food.

Source: SSA Federal Register March 27, 2024

Currently, if an SSI beneficiary receives funds or support for their shelter costs, they would incur a 1/3rd reduction in their SSI benefit. Effective September 30, 2024, this policy has been updated to state:

This final rule provides that if a ‘‘business arrangement’’ exists, such that the SSI applicant or recipient is not considered to be receiving ISM in the form of room or rent, when the amount of monthly required rent for the property equals or exceeds the presumed maximum value(PMV). ($334.33 in 2024)

Based on this language, the following is important:

  1. The SSI beneficiary should have a signed lease or other agreement for shelter (even if residing in a family home) – preferably inclusive of the costs for essential utilities as much as possible.
  2. The SSI beneficiary’s rent or housing costs must be over $334.33 per month.

Once these two criteria are met, additional financial resources received to pay for rent or shelter will not result in a decrease in the total SSI benefit. The SSA rule does not address financial assistance for utility costs, so at this point, there is no new directive on the best way to manage these costs, unless they are included in the monthly rent calculation.

The bottom line outcome of this new rule is that an individual receiving SSI may now receive assistance for the cost of shelter without risking a significant impact on their SSI benefit.

Source: SSA Federal Register April 11, 2024

National Care Advisors is excited to see this positive improvement in Social Security policy to better meet the quality of life financial requirements for individuals living with disability challenges. Our consultants are ready to assist you and your clients in requesting a re-evaluation from the Social Security Administration. Contact your Business Development Representative or for assistance.