How In-Kind Income Can Affect Social Security Disability

December 28, 2015
Dayes Law Firm

If you depend on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, receiving in-kind income that is not earned through employment, such as food and shelter, may reduce your monthly benefit payments.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) identifies income as wages from working, pension, SSDI benefits and in-kind income. Because SSI is a needs-based benefit, your income can impact the amount of payment you receive.

In-Kind Support and Maintenance

If you are provided with food or shelter that you do not pay for, the SSA considers that as in-kind support and maintenance (ISM). This can include someone providing you with food or payment for your property taxes, mortgage, rent, and/or utility bills. Medical expenses, cable and phone bills are not included.

Another type of in-kind income includes goods that are given to you as a gift. These are estimated at market value and subtracted from your disability payment.

The Social Security Administration does not consider income as in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) if:

  • You reside with others, buy your own food and pay your own rent or mortgage.
  • You live by yourself, buy food and pay rent or mortgage.
  • Reside with children under 18-years-old and/or your spouse and no one else pays for food or housing outside of your immediate household.

If you live with roommates and pay a portion of food, rent and utilities costs, the SSA will make sure that your contribution is equal to your share of the total cost of those expenses. If you are paying less than your share, you could be determined to be in receipt of in-kind income and your disability payment would be reduced.

How In-Kind Income Affects Payments

Your in-kind income and disability payment reduction value is affected by one of two rules:

One third reduction rule This rule applies if you lived in someone else’s home for a full calendar month and you received shelter and food from other people in the household. In this case, your disability payment would be reduced by a third.

Presumed value rule If the above rule does not apply, the presumed value rule is used. In this case, your food and housing are valued at a third of the federal benefit rate, currently $733 for an individual, plus 20 dollars. You can dispute the valued amount if you think your in-kind income does not equate to the presumed value.

If you have difficulty receiving the disability benefits that you deserve, contact our Phoenix disability benefits lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC today for a free consultation.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.