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How do living arrangements affect Social Security Disability?

When a Florida resident seeks Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, there are certain factors that have to be taken into account based on federal regulations. One such factor is the claimant's living arrangements. The amount a claimant can receive in SSD benefits is contingent on these living arrangements.

There can be differences in the amount allowable based on whether the claimant lives: in his or her own place of residence, such as a house, an apartment or mobile home; in someone else's home; in a group care facility; or in a nursing home or hospital. The amount that is calculated as income by the Social Security Administration (SSA) will depend on the circumstances. The SSA must know who is paying for the shelter and daily living expenses, if there are other residents in the home and who pays for utilities.

The amount received in SSD benefits can be reduced if the claimant is living with someone else and is not paying what is considered to be a "fair share" of housing and food expenses; if the claimant is living in his or her own home, but is not paying for all of the living costs; if the claimant is hospitalized or in a nursing home with Medicaid paying for more than one-half of the costs for care; if the claimant is a minor child in a nursing care facility or a hospital for an entire month with Medicaid and private insurance paying more than one-half of care costs; and if the claimant is in a public or private facility with Medicaid paying for greater than one-half of the costs.

There are many instances when a person unable to work due to a condition, illness or injury is seeking SSD benefits and is living with another person to help them or to make the financial situation less onerous. In other cases, the person will need to be living in a hospital setting or a nursing facility where assistance is provided for a short time or for a longer period. It is important for claimants to understand that the SSA will look at the financial circumstances and take that into account when deciding on the amount that will be awarded. Speaking to a legal professional regarding disability status for SSI is the first step toward knowing how living arrangements will influence SSD benefits.

Source: SSA.gov, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Living Arrangements," accessed on Nov. 9, 2015

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