Future Planning – SSI and Food and Shelter Costs

In planning for the future of a loved one with a disability, it is important to know what government benefits he or she may qualify for, and what those benefits will provide.  If you or a loved one is already receiving government benefits, it is important to know show they can be used.  In this blog, I want to provide information about SSI.

Supplemental Security Income, more commonly known as SSI, is a government benefit for people with a qualifying disability that provides what the Social Security Administration refers to as food and shelter costs.

Their definition of food and shelter is:

  • Mortgage Payments
  • Rent
  • Property/Homeowners Insurance
  • Gas bills
  • Electric bills
  • Heating fuel
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Garbage collection services
  • Property taxes
  • Food (groceries, snacks, eating out)

If anyone, including a special needs trust such as The Arc Master Trust,  helps to pay any of these expenses on the person’s behalf, Social Security will reduce the monthly SSI check up to the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) in the month they receive the information that someone has made this type of payment.

What this means  is, if anyone (including the trust) pays any of the above expenses for someone receiving SSI then their SSI check will be reduced in a later month by what Social Security calls the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV).  This means it is a dollar for dollar reduction up to 1/3 of the person’s check plus $20.  Right now the presumed maximum value is $250.34.

Here are a couple of examples of how this works:

Example A:  The Arc Trust issues a check to the electric company for one of our beneficiaries who receives $698 per month from Social Security for their SSI benefit.  This check is to help pay the monthly electric bill.  When this is reported to Social Security they reduce the beneficiary’s SSI check in a subsequent month by $50.

Example B:  A parent pays one month’s rent of $800 for their son or daughter who receives SSI benefits.  Once this has been reported to Social Security the subsequent SSI check is reduced by $250.34 so the amount of the check received in that month is $447.66 (assuming the person receives the full SSI benefit of $698).

Social Security rules and regulations can be complex.  The staff of The Arc Master Trust makes understanding these rules and regulations a top priority.  If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact The Arc Master Trust for more information.

The Arc Master Trust

Melissa Justice is the Trust Director of The Arc Master Trust