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What Do I Have To Do To Receive The Maximum Amount Of SSI From SSA?

QUESTION:

 

I was receiving in-kind support, but I'm not anymore. I now pay for my own shelter and food. How should I go about informing them and getting it changed?

 

ANSWER:  SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income, which is a welfare/needs-based program handled by the SSA (unlike the Social Security program which is generally not needs based).  As such, all income we have coming in, with some minor exclusions, counts and detracts from what we "need".  The full 2015 SSI federal benefit rate is $733.  However, when one of our basic needs is being met by someone else, such as providing us shelter, we no longer "need" that basic need to be supported by SSI.  Generally, the SSA will reduce your benefit by 1/3, as a result.  To terminate the reduction, you need only update your financial situation with the SSA.  (If you live with family, and they are not charging you rent, you may want to change that so you can increase your benefit amount.  See here.)

You need to go to your local SSA office and explain your change in financial situation. Show your lease agreement if you have one, and certify to them that you now pay your 'fair share' of your shelter and for your food. When you are finished there, I'd probably also write a letter confirming what you all discussed and how you are now not receiving in kind support, and that you understand that you will not be eligible to receive the federal benefit rate in full without reduction. I'd include the name of the person you spoke to, time and date of appointment as well as the substance of the meeting. I'd mail the letter certified r.r.r. so there can be no dispute later that the SSA was advised of your change in financial status.

 

 

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