How is a disabled person supposed to live on SSI?

When did SSI come into being, and why?

Congress created SSI in 1972 to replace the patchwork system of federal grants to states for aid to the aged, blind or disabled.  According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers SSI, those grants were “intended to supplement the incomes of individuals who were ineligible for Social Security or whose benefits could not provide a basic living.”  Since its launch in 1974, SSI has guaranteed a minimum level of income to those who qualify.

Although run by the same agency, SSI is distinct from the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs, commonly known as Social Security. Nevertheless, the two programs often overlap.  Many SSI recipients have worked long enough to collect Social Security but their Social Security benefit is low enough that they also qualify for SSI. Nearly one-third of adult SSI recipients under age 65, and almost three-fifths of recipients over 65, also get Social Security.


People Living in Kentucky Institutions and SSI

People living in institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, or jails are not eligible for SSI benefits. They may qualify for the maximum $30 a month, and possibly a state supplement.

If a person is 18 years of age or older, and Medicaid is not paying for more than half of the cost of their care, they are not entitled to any SSI benefit. Children under 18 who enter institutions and Medicaid or private insurance pays for more than half of the cost of their care can receive up to the maximum $30 a month. Children under 18 in institutions for which Medicaid or private insurance does not pay for more than half of the cost of their care will not be eligible for any SSI benefits.

8. Davenport, Iowa

Cost of Living Score: 81.7 Livability Score: 69 Average Rent: $731.25 It costs about 19% less to live in Davenport than the average American city. Its relatively high (for this list) average rent of $731.25 per month and its livability score of just 69, pull it down from the top spot on the list.

What can reduce Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Some types of assistance and living situations can reduce your monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit. For example, if you live rent free in a house owned by a relative, the SSA considers this to be in-kind support and maintenance, which they calculate as being worth $284.66. Your monthly benefit could be reduced by this amount in some situations, given what assistance you receive for rent, mortgage, food, or utilities.

15. Greenville, North Carolina

Cost of Living Score: 84.1 Livability Score: 75 Average Rent: $792 The average rent cost in Roanoke is the fourth-highest on the list, but its lower cost of living and high livability rates make it desirable for retirees. If you wanted supplement your Social Security earnings, Roanoke is a good place to do it. Another GOBankingRates study showed it’s one of the top 20 cities for remote workers.

Rental Agreement

To avoid ISM, families should put in place a written rental agreement, covering the individual’s proportional share of household operating expenses and, if applicable, food. The agreement should include the renter’s and landlord’s names, the rental address, and the amount, purpose and frequency of payment. Upon request, the renter should be able to produce rent receipts. Families should also document prevailing rents in the area. An important condition is that the individual pay fair market value for what is received.

SSI Living Arrangement Categories

The SSA uses four living arrangement categories to determine payment amounts:

  • Living Arrangement A — When a person owns a home, has rental liability or pays a pro-rata share of household expenses, they are considered to be living in their own household, and their benefit is based on 100 percent of the income guarantee. The SSA states that 81 percent of SSI recipients are in living arrangement A.
  • Living Arrangement B — A person who lives in someone else’s house and gets both food and shelter from others living there is subject to a one-third reduction in the income guarantee. According to the SSA, about 5 percent of SSI recipients are in living arrangement B.
  • Living Arrangement C — Any eligible child younger than 18 years of age who lives with a parent will have a benefit based on 100 percent of the income guarantee. Eligible children are not charged with ISM for food and shelter provided by parents, and the SSA states that 12 percent of SSI recipients are in living arrangement C.
  • Living Arrangement D — If an eligible person is living in a public or private medical institution with Medicaid paying over 50 percent of the cost of their care, they are limited to an SSI payment of $30 per month. ISM is not countable for individuals who are in living arrangement D, which the SSA says includes only 2 percent of all SSI recipients.

Homeless people can be entitled to SSI benefits too, up to the maximums allowed by the state. When a person lives in a public shelter, benefits will be available for six of the nine months that a person lives there.

States That Pay out the Most in SSI Benefits

There are five states that on average pay more for SSI benefits than others. The highest paying states for SSI benefits as of 2022 are New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Maryland.

The average disability benefit per month for 2022 for an individual on SSI benefits is $841 per month. Individuals on SSI in New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Maryland may earn more than the average worker on SSI.The breakout for those states are as followed:

  • New Jersey: $1,689 per month
  • Connecticut: $1,685 per month
  • Delaware: $1,659 per month
  • New Hampshire: $1,644 per month
  • Maryland: $1,624 per month

There are a couple of reasons why these states pay more for SSI than the rest of the country, in New Jersey, the higher number could be reflected the higher average income of residents of those states. New Jersey and Maryland are in the top 3 of median household income in the United States.

How do I prove my living arrangements?

Sometimes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will ask you to prove your living arrangements. To do this, send or bring in current rent receipts or lease agreements and utility bills. They must show your address and the amount that you are supposed to pay. If you don’t have bills or receipts, you can use a form to declare this.

Recent Posts

Golden State Grant (GSG) and SSI/SSP Recipients

Recent California legislation authorized a one-time supplemental SSP payment in the amount of $600 to SSI/SSP recipients to provide relief from hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Payments in the amount of $600 will be automatically mailed out based on zip code. Recipients can expect to receive their payment based on the following schedule:

Week Of: Zip Code Range:
05/24/2021 00000 – 91204
06/01/2021 91205 – 92114
06/07/2021 92115 – 93304
06/14/2021 93305 – 95034
06/21/2021 95035 – 99999

For general information about these payments, refer to the SSP Payment FAQs; SSP Payment FAQs Spanish. For any additional questions, please contact: 1 (866) 312-3100.

Please Note: Due to new guidance issued by the federal government, this payment will not be counted toward the SSI/SSP resource limit of $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

For information regarding the GSG for CalWORKS families and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), visit the links below.

The Golden State Stimulus was also recently enacted to provide economic relief from hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For information regarding the Golden State Stimulus Payment, visit the link below.