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For those who have disabilities that prevent them from pursuing a livelihood, SSI benefits represent a tremendous source of financial assistance that can help many retain their independence. However, the SSI program is governed by numerous rules and regulations, and recipients must often navigate a complicated web of guidelines in seeking employment opportunities or vocational training, for example. Programs such as the Ticket to Work program allow many who receive SSI benefits to explore re-entry into the workforce. Through participating in in the Ticket to Work program, recipients of SSI disability benefits can work with a service provider to help increase their income and reduce their dependence on benefits.

There are issues that can impact your eligibility for benefits and cause you to potentially lose all or some of your monthly benefit payments. For example, your housing can affect your eligibility for SSI benefits or the amount of money you receive monthly. While many may not understand the rules surrounding the living arrangements of those who receive benefits, the regulations are quite straight-forward. Keep reading to learn how your living arrangements can impact your SSI benefits.

Does Where I Live Determine Eligibility?

Where you live can have an impact on your eligibility for benefits or the level of benefits you receive. For example, a recipient who lives in a home that he or she owns or rents while paying for both food and shelter is eligible for the maximum allowable benefit. Also, you can still claim the maximum benefit if you live in a house that someone else rents or owns so long as you pay for all your food and shelter costs. However, if you live in someone else’s home and only pay a portion of your food and shelter costs, you will only receive two-thirds of the maximum federal SSI benefit rate.

Does Assistance from Others Impact Eligibility?

In short, any assistance related to food or shelter that you receive from friends, family members, or roommates can be considered when your eligibility for SSI is determined. As a result, those factors can impact your SSI benefits amount and reduce it. In some cases, if the amount of assistance received from other sources is great enough, it can even make you ineligible for SSI benefits altogether. Simply put, any assistance you get in covering your food and shelter costs can lead to a deduction in your benefit amount. That deduction amount cannot exceed one-third of the maximum payable amount per month plus $20. There are a few exceptions, however. If the person providing the assistance is your spouse, or if you are a minor child living with your parents or guardians who are providing that assistance, then you may still be entitled to the maximum allowable benefit. Also, in some instances, food provided to SSI beneficiaries by recognized community non-profit organizations may not be counted as income.

Can Non-Food and Shelter Related Assistance Impact Eligibility?

When considering eligibility for benefits, assistance that falls outside of the category of food or shelter is not counted as income. Therefore, you can receive those items from friends and family members without an impact on your eligibility for benefits or the amount of benefits you receive. For example, if someone buys you a dishwasher or television, that is not considered income and won’t impact your benefit amount.

Living Arrangements

What If I Am Homeless?

People who are determined to be homeless by the SSI definition are entitled to their maximum benefits, even if they spend time in homeless shelters or receive food from local recognized non-profit organizations. There is no residence requirement for beneficiaries to receive benefits, so until homeless SSI recipients can gain stable housing, they are entitled to the maximum benefit allowed.

For SSI beneficiaries, determining what factors can impact eligibility for maximum benefits can be difficult. To learn more about the ways that your living arrangements can impact your SSI benefits, contact DisABLEd Workers at (877) 291-9806.