A few weeks ago we discussed a change to the rules governing SSI’s In-kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) which seemed to have the needs of the beneficiary at heart as they looked to take out the calculations on food costs. While that appears to be a somewhat flawed effort, we can now announce another change that may actually be of some benefit to SSI recipients.

ISM is the provision that allows SSA to reduce an SSI beneficiary’s monthly check if they are deemed to be receiving support that, whilst not directly a financial handout, does alleviate that burden. Thus SSA can determine that if you aren’t paying enough towards your room and board (and that’s not an easy thing to do on $943 a month) then you don’t deserve all that cash.

Whilst there’s still no rule that just abolishes the idea of ISM, the new regulation, set for final approval on September 30 this year, does allow a little more leeway when looking at rental costs. Under the current regulations if the current market rental value of where you live is, for example $800 but you and your landlord have agreed that you only need to pay $400, then that’s $400 that’s counted as ISM and it’ll reduce by a third your SSI check. The only kindness here is that the check isn’t reduced by $400, but only by $314.33.

Under the proposed new ruling, as long as you are paying rent of at least a third of the Federal Benefit Rate you won’t lose any of your SSI check. A blessing of some kind, it has to be conceded.

You can go here to read the full ruling: Federal Register :: Expansion of the Rental Subsidy Policy for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Applicants and Recipients