If you’re considering applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it’s essential to understand what factors affect your eligibility and the amount you’re able to receive under the program’s regulations.
These federal benefits are available to those who:
- Are at least 65 year old, blind or disabled
- Are a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Have limited income and resources
Where you live and how much, if anything, you pay in housing costs are also factors in determining whether you qualify for SSI and, if so, how much.
For example, say you’re living in your brother’s apartment with him, but he’s not requiring you to pay half the rent, utilities, food and other expenses. Your SSI benefits would likely be less than if you were splitting everything in half. That’s because someone else is providing you with “in-kind support and maintenance.”
If you spend a month in a hospital or rehabilitation facility and over half of the cost is covered by Medicare, Medicaid or your private insurance, you’d probably receive less in SSI for that month than you would if you covered the bulk of the cost yourself.
People who live in their own homes or apartments and pay all of their own housing expenses won’t have their SSI benefits reduced for their living arrangements. Neither will people who are homeless. That’s true for people who live in public homeless shelters. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers the SSI program, has methods for making sure that those who are homeless receive their benefits.
It’s important to be honest with the SSA about your living arrangements and whether someone else is helping with the rent, mortgage payments and/or other expenses. However, if you believe that you’ve been wrongly denied the benefits to which you’re entitled, it may be wise to speak to an attorney. Our office offers free, no-obligation consultations.