When you finally get approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, it’s a massive relief—you’re able to cover your basic expenses and financial obligations. Anything that may threaten those benefits can be a significant source of stress for recipients, which is why it’s so important to know how your living arrangements could impact your disability benefits. At Quin Baker, SSD Lawyer, we help disability applicants and recipients in the Pensacola area get—and keep—the benefits they deserve. Learn more about how we can help you now by calling us at 850-433-0888.
Living Arrangements and SSDI
First, it’s important to know what specific benefits you receive and the various factors that affect them. SSDI and SSI are both referred to as “disability benefits” by many, but they are entirely separate programs that are different in many key ways. If you receive SSDI benefits, your application went through the Social Security disability insurance program run by the SSA.
The benefits you receive from this program are based entirely on two things: your work history and your disability. You must have an extensive enough work history to qualify, and on top of that, your average earnings throughout your career determine how much money you receive. Your disability must be severe enough in the SSA’s eyes for you to receive benefits.
You’ll notice that your living arrangements are not listed as a factor—that’s because they don’t matter. Your financial need does not influence your SSDI decision, so your living arrangements are not a factor in whether or not you receive benefits or how much you receive.
SSI and Your Living Arrangements
However, living arrangements do play a significant role in your SSI benefits. SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, is need-based. Applicants who have too much in assets or who earn too much money may have their benefits denied or decreased. Those who currently receive benefits may have them cut off or decreased if they start bringing in an income or have a significant change in their living situation.
The SSA directly states that your benefits may vary depending on where you live. Those who live alone and pay their own way can receive the full amount of benefits. However, the following living arrangements could lead to a decrease in or elimination of your monthly payments:
- Live in someone else’s home and pay below market rate for food and housing.
- Live alone and have someone else who pays for all or part of your necessary monthly expenses.
- Live in a hospital or nursing home and have Medicaid pay at least half of the total cost of your care.
- Are a minor child living in a hospital or nursing home, and Medicaid or private insurance pays for at least half of your care.
- Live in a public or private treatment center and have at least half of the cost of your care covered by Medicaid.
Note that there is an exception to that last bullet point. If you will live in a medical institution for 90 days or fewer, you could still be entitled to full benefits. You’ll need to discuss the details of your situation with your disability attorney or case manager.
“In-kind support” is a major factor in these calculations. If people give you money directly, that counts against you when it comes to your SSI benefits. Even if they cover your expenses in full or in part, your benefits could be affected. In-kind support is essentially anything that pays for some of your necessary living expenses and has monetary value. So, if someone covers the entirety of your rent, those payments are considered in-kind support and must be calculated into your SSI benefits.
How to Navigate Changes in Your Benefits
On its own, this is a lot to take in. Unfortunately, it gets even more complicated. While in-kind support and maintenance do decrease your benefits, that doesn’t mean that everything you receive counts against your benefits. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss any upcoming changes in your life with your disability attorney to find out if those changes will affect your benefits in any way.
Get Help with Your Claim by Contacting Quin Baker, SSD Lawyer
Whether you’re concerned about your living arrangements affecting your current benefits or your pending application, we’re here to guide you through this complicated process. Call our team at 850-433-0888 or reach out online to schedule a consultation right away.