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How a new rental subsidy rule can help SSI applicants and recipients

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Adults With Disabilities

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Social Security benefit that provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness, and to adults age 65 and older who have limited income and resources. SSI can be used for basic needs like rent, food, clothing and medicine. People applying for and receiving SSI must meet eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits.

Until now, receiving a rent subsidy, also called in-kind support and maintenance or ISM, either by living in the home of another, or paying discounted rent, would cause a reduction in the SSI payment of up to one-third of the SSI benefit rate plus $20, or $334 in 2024. This amount is referred to as the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV.)

In Ohio, adult children living in a parents’ home, even if paying monthly rent to the parents, would often receive this reduction when Social Security added up all the costs of the household, including mortgage payments and property taxes, and determined that the child’s share of those expenses exceeded the rent paid. In many cases the recipient’s share of these costs exceeded the full SSI benefit of $943. A new rule, which goes into effect September 30, 2024, will change this nationwide.

Under the proposed rule taking effect September 30, 2024, SSI applicants and recipients would not receive a reduction in SSI if the rental amount is equal to or greater than the PMV. Social Security would see that a “business arrangement” exists, and the applicant or recipient is not considered to be receiving ISM in the form of room or rent, if the applicant or recipient has a monthly required rent equal to or exceeding the PMV.

“Simplifying and expanding our rental subsidy policy nationwide is another common-sense solution that will improve program equality and will reduce agency time spent calculating and administering rental subsidy,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security.

The new rule will allow many SSI recipients currently being assessed ISM to potentially receive the full SSI benefit. The rule could also make SSI accessible for thousands of older adults with disabling medical conditions.

This new rule follows a prior change that removed food provided by others from the calculations for SSI benefits.

If you have questions about SSI, contact the law firm of Hickman Lowder for guidance.