If your SSI check is lower than maximum, it may be because you are not paying your correct share of household expenses.
If your child’s check is lower than maximum, this may be because your child is not paying the correct share of household expenses.
What Is Maximum SSI?
Maximum SSI is $735 in most states. In Michigan, New Jersey and Vermont it is $750-$800. It is $890 in California. The amount is the same for children and adults.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay The Right Amount of Rent or Mortgage?
Your SSI check is lowered by up to one-third. This is called “In Kind Support and Maintenance.” See below for details on how to determine your share of household expenses.
What Happens If My Situation Changes?
If your housing or rent situation changes, you should contact SSI to report any changes and request an SSI Redetermination Interview. They will ask you questions about your finances, and change your check to the correct amount. Your check may go up or down, depending on the change.
You do not have to move for your situation to change. According to the SSI policies, you are allowed to pay rent where you are already living. It is very common for people with disabilities to rent a room from a friend or family member. If you are not yet approved for disability or do not yet have enough income, see links below on rental loan agreements.
For families with minor children, you are allowed to use the child’s SSI check to cover the child’s share of household expenses. This is the child’s way of “paying rent.” You are also allowed to use other money that belongs to the child (such as child support or money in an ABLE account) to pay the child’s share.
Other types of changes to your living situation can also affect your SSI check, such as getting married, getting divorced, separating from you spouse, living with more people, living with less people, etc. You can learn more about this and much more on this page about SSI Regulations.
How Do I Figure Out My Share of Household Expenses?
Good question. Social Security will be looking to see if anyone pays your rent, food, or utilities, or gives you free rent, food, or utilities. This is called “in kind support and maintenance” and will lower your check. If you live alone, figuring out your share is simple. If you live with other people, it gets a lot more complicated!
- What Are Household Expenses and Why Are They Important?
- What Counts as a Household Expense (and what doesn’t count!)
- Your Share of Rent
- Your Share of Mortgage
- What if There is No Mortgage, or if the Mortgage is SUPER HIGH?
- Can I Pay More Than My Share?
- Do I Need to Pay For My Kids Share?
Times when someone else can pay your household expenses without impacting SSI:
- Exception: Living with your spouse
- Exception: Government or nonprofit programs
- Exception: ABLE accounts
- Exception: Homelessness
- Exception: Loans from family, friends, or anyone
- Exception: Student loans
- How Do I Correct an SSI Check?
- What Should I Bring to an SSI Appointment?
- Rental Loan Agreements
- “I am renting a room in someone’s house. I do not have mortgage information.”
- “Wait! I Do Not Pay Rent. Why Am I Getting Maximum SSI?”
- “Why do some people get reduced SSI and some people get maximum SSI?”
- “I tried correcting my check. But I’m having a problem.”
- “I Can’t Afford Rent… Yet”
- “I Live Alone”
- “I live with my child and my child collects SSI”
- “I Live with Other People (Kids, Relatives, Friends, etc)”
- “I am getting discounted rent through HUD, Section 8, or another agency”
- “I am living with a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife”
- “I live in a room in a house owned by my mother, father, sister, etc”
- “I live with a friend or family member. They are renting.”
- How Can I Find a Place I Can Afford on SSI?
- I own my house. Can I rent out a room and charge rent?
Example #1 – Suzy Lives With Her Mom
Suzy is disabled and lives in an house owned by her mother. The household expenses are:
Mortgage – 700
Property Tax – 50
Insurance – 50
Gas – 100
Electric – 50
Water / Sewer – 40
Garbage removal – 10
Total Household expenses = $1000
Two people live there = Suzy pays 50%
Suzy signs a lease with her mom stating that she will pay $500 per month for rent and utilities. Every month, Suzy gives her mother a check for $500. Suzy pays for all her own food. Because of her disabilities, she is unable to go to the store herself, so she gives her mom money to go shopping for her.
Suzy’s mother pays for internet, lawn care, and appliances. Suzy’s mother also buys Suzy clothes, and pays for household items like toothpaste and soap and sponges. At her SSI assessment, Suzy tells the SSI worker what her mom is paying for, but the workers says this has no impact on SSI because her mom never gives any money to Suzy.
Suzy is paying her share of household expenses, and she collects maximum SSI. He also follows the food stamps regulations for people with disabilities and collects food stamps.
Example # 2 – Joe Lives With His Friends
Joe, John, Jim and Jane rent a house together. Their household expenses are:
Rent – $2,000
Gas – varies
Electric – varies
Water / Sewer – varies
Garbage removal – varies
Food – purchased separated
Total Household expenses = $2000 + utilities
Four people live there = Joe pays 25%
Joe adds his name to the lease with his friends. Every month, he sends the landlord a check for $500. He also buys his own food. When the utility bills come, Joe always pays 25%.
Joe is paying his share of household expenses, and he collects maximum SSI. She also follows the food stamps regulations for people with disabilities and collects food stamps.
Example # 3 – Jane Lives in HUD Housing
Jane is lives in a Section 8 HUD apartment with a live-in aide, Susan.
Jane follows the HUD housing regulations and the landlord excludes Susan’s income. They also exclude Jane’s supplements as medical expenses and the cost of cat food and litter for her emotional support animal. Jane has $735 income, but only $600 in countable income. Her rent is set at 30% which is $180 per month.
Jane has a two-bedroom apartment valued at $1,000 per month. Jane pays $180 per month and HUD pays the remainder of the rent. This does not impact her SSI, because it is a government housing program. Jane collects maximum SSI. Jane’s food is separate from Susan’s so she also applies for and receives food stamps as well as utility assistance.