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Can I keep my SSI benefits if I enter a medical facility?

People who are suffering from a condition, illness or injury and meet certain federal requirements can seek Supplemental Security Income. However, given that they are suffering from a medical issue, it is not unusual for them to need hospitalization or a stay at a nursing facility. A question that is often asked is whether a person who enters a facility can continue to receive SSI benefits. The answer is yes, but there are certain rules that go along with that.

If a recipient of SSI benefits enters a hospital, nursing home, or other facility with Medicaid paying for greater than half of the cost, the SSI will be reduced to $30 monthly. A person who receives income in addition to SSI might have their SSI lowered based on that income. Individuals who are 18 and older and reside in a public medical facility without Medicaid paying for more than half of the costs cannot get SSI. For a child under 18 who enters a facility with Medicaid or private insurance paying for all or for more than half of the stay, the benefit will be limited to $30 monthly. If the child has income, the SSI can be reduced further.

Some people in this situation will not be in a facility for very long. Here, a person who is in the facility for 90 days or fewer can continue getting their full SSI benefits for as long as three months. There is certain information that must be provided to the Social Security Administration, though. First, a doctor must write that the person will be in the facility for 90 days or fewer. Then, there must also be a statement from the individual or someone who knows the individual well that SSI is necessary to maintain a home or living situation while in the facility. These documents must be submitted to the SSA before he or she leaves the facility or by the 90th day there, whichever comes first.

SSI is an important part of the lives of many low-income people or those who are older than 65 or blind. For those individuals who must enter a medical facility, the ability to maintain SSI benefits is a common concern. It is important to understand that the benefits can continue provided all the requirements are met and the necessary information is provided to the SSA. Discussing the case with a legal professional experienced in all aspects of SSI Supplemental Security Income can ensure that the process goes smoothly and benefits are as protected as fully as possible.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Spotlight On Continued SSI Benefits For Persons Who Are Temporarily Institutionalized -- 2017 Edition," accessed on Aug. 29, 2017

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