Social Security Adjustment Rules for SSI

The Social Security Administration is changing its rules regarding rent or shelter costs for people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income. (Disability Scoop)

The Social Security Administration is once again updating the way it calculates Supplemental Security Income benefits, this time to make sure its rules are applied more fairly across the country.

The agency finalized a Rule this month it is adjusting the way it handles so-called «in-kind and maintenance support» in the form of a rent subsidy.

Under existing policies, people with disabilities may see their SSI benefits reduced if they pay rent or shelter costs that are below current market value. This often comes into play if the user lives with a family member who charges less than they would on the open market, for example.

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However, due to court rulings, seven states—Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Texas—apply different standards. For SSI recipients in these states, monthly payments are not reduced if an individual spends more than a third of their income on housing, even in cases where their rent is below current market value.

With the new rule, Social Security will apply less stringent standards across the country. As a result, the agency expects about 41,000 people to see their SSI payments drop by an average of $132 a month. In addition, about 14,000 more people are expected to qualify for SSI each year.

«Our mission is to continue helping people access critical benefits, including SSI,» said Social Security Commissioner Martin O’Malley. «Simplifying and expanding our rental subsidy policy across the country is another common sense solution that will improve program equity and reduce the time the agency spends calculating and administering the rental subsidy.»

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The new policy should take effect on September 30.

The rule change is part of a broad effort by the Social Security Administration to review how it handles the nuances of the SSI program. Last month, the agency said it would stop counting food as part of «in-kind support and maintenance» starting this fall ia rule issued last week changes the way Social Security factors support other public assistance programs when calculating SSI payments.

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