If you do not pay for your own rent, utilities your SSI check will be reduced.
How Much Will It Be Reduced?
Backpay and future checks can be reduced by up to one third. For example, if a backpay would be $9,000 but the person received free rent, backpay may instead be $6,000.
In the Social Security policies, this is called “In Kind Support and Maintenance.”
What’s The Difference Between a Rental Agreement and a Rental Loan Agreement?
A rental agreement is for the future and affects your future checks. If you would like to rent a room or apartment from someone, you can just use any standard lease agreement you want. SSI does not have special forms or instructions for this. If you go to google and type in “sample lease” you can find hundreds of sample forms. If the person you are renting from is also a renter, you can look for “sublet leases”
A rental loan agreement is about the past and affects your backpay after you first get approved. More information rental loan agreements is below.
No matter what type of agreement you have, it’s really important for you to know the SSI Regulations for How High Rent Should Be
What is a Rental Loan Agreement?
SSI has a policy that will allow an applicant to set up a rental loan agreement to owe rent and pay it back at a future time. Most commonly these types of agreements are used by someone who will rent a room, and then after approval will pay the rent back out of their backpay.
Rental agreements can be directly with the landlord, or it can be a sublet.
Rent example: Sally lives in a house owned by her mom. Before applying for SSI, she signs a rental agreement with her mother to rent a room in the house. At the SSI financial interview, she presents the rental loan agreement and receives full SSI for all backpay months. She pays her mom back the rent owed.
Sublet example: Jennifer’s friend is renting an apartment. When Jennifer becomes disabled, her friend agrees to let her live there, as long as Jennifer promises to pay her back her half of the rent and utilities. Jennifer and her friend sign a rental loan agreement. After she is approved for disability, Jennifer pays her friend back.
Who Uses Rental Loan Agreements?
Rental loan agreements are sometimes used by people who are renting or subletting a room from a friend or family member. Obviously, a landlord who does not know you is very unlikely to allow this kind of agreement.
Most of our readers who used rental loan agreements were parents whose adult children were living with them while applying for SSI.
Rental Loan agreements are usually used by people applying for SSI, but they can also be used by someone already on SSI while waiting for their SSI check to be redetermined.
When Should a Rental Loan Agreement Be Signed
Ideally, the agreement should be signed by both parties before the rental loan begins. If your agreement was not signed before this, it may or may not be accepted.
Contract law varies by states, so if there is not a signed agreement before the loan began, SSA may consider the laws in your state. In some states, they may accept an agreement that was verbal, and that both people later confirmed had been made verbally. A verbal agreement would still need to made before the rental loan agreement began.
How to Make a Rental Loan Agreement
We have a very basic loan agreement for my daughter’s rent that includes language that she will re-pay any back-rent if she receives any income.
At the Social Security financial interview after she received fully favorable decision, the clerk told her that backpay would be issued $2500 the first month, $2500 in 6 months, and balance in one year!
I pointed out that my daughter owed me 30 months of back-rent from our loan agreement. The clerk immediately said she would issue a request for entire back-pay to be disbursed immediately!
Important Policies and Technical Details
🌷 The date the loan agreement is signed can be important. Social Security may check an agreement to ensure that the agreement was made and signed before the rental loan began. A rental loan agreement that is signed before the person applies for SSI will cover the entire backpay time period.
🌷 Some states do recognize verbal contracts, so if you did not date and sign the agreement ahead of time, it is possible it might still be accepted.
🌷 According to the Social Security policies: Loan agreements must be feasible, unconditional, and include a specific plan for paying the money back.
🌷 When considering “in kind support” Social Security looks at three areas: Rent, Utilities, and Food. Rental agreements should include utilities, or there should be a separate agreement for utilities.
🌷 Rental agreements can also include food, or food can be purchased separately. For example, if the disabled person is on food stamps, they might use food stamps to buy food instead of including it in the agreement. Our readers report that Social Security will ask how food was bought but does not request receipts of your food purchases.
🌷 Many disabled people choose to keep their food separate from others in the household, as this allows them to qualify for food stamps on their own. Note for parents: If your child is over 21, he or she can apply for their own food stamps account even if they live in your house. What’s a Food Stamps Household?
🌷 Social Security only considers rent, utilities, food, and money. Other kinds of support are not taken into account. For example, if someone pays your car insurance, phone or medical bills, this does not impact SSI.
🌷 The amount of rent charged in the rental agreement can also be important. How Much Rent to Pay on SSI
🌷 Sometimes Social Security workers don’t know all the policies. If you are having difficulties, show them the policy and ask that it be applied to your case. If you continue to have problems, you can appeal the decision and enclose a copy of the policy: SSA Policy on Rental Loan Agreements
Loan Must Be Unconditional
The loan must be unconditional. The agreement must be to pay the loan back even if benefits are denied. There are no rules about how long one has to pay it back. Interest is not required. Here’s three examples from the social security policy manual:
🌷 Ms. Norton lives with her father. When she talks with Social Security worker, “She states that she feels personally responsible to pay back her father, but her father does not expect repayment.” Loan agreement is denied.
🌷 Mr. Johnson lives with his daughter. When they talk with Social Security worker, “The daughter states that Mr. Johnson is required to repay her only if he begins to receive his benefits.” Loan agreement is denied.
🌷 Ms. Smith lives with her brother. When they talk with Social Security worker, “Ms. Smith and her brother both state that she must repay the loan of food and shelter whether or not Ms. Smith is found eligible for SSI.” Loan agreement is approved.
Learn more about: How to Apply for SSI Without Falling into Quicksand