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Social Security To Remove Food As In-Kind Support & Maintenance

The Social Security Administration said that starting this fall it will no longer factor food when determining what’s known as “in-kind support and maintenance.”

Under current rules, SSI benefits can be reduced, in many cases by about a third if someone else routinely provides meals or groceries to a beneficiary. Now, that’s set to change.

“A vital part of our mission is helping people access crucial benefits, including SSI,” said Martin O’Malley, commissioner of Social Security. “Simplifying our policies is a common-sense solution that reduces the burden on the public and agency staff and helps promote equity by removing barriers to accessing payments.”

In a final rule published late last month, the Social Security Administration said it will stop considering food expenses in calculations of in-kind support and maintenance as of Sept. 30.

The agency will continue to factor shelter expenses, meaning that SSI benefits can be docked if a beneficiary does not contribute to rent, mortgage or utility costs for their residence.

The change will limit the amount of information that SSI beneficiaries must report, ensure that rules are easier for everyone to understand and reduce variability in SSI payments from one month to the next, officials said. In addition, Social Security expects to see administrative savings since the agency will no longer have to spend time monitoring food provided in-kind.

Even with the update, however, Social Security said that it will continue to ask beneficiaries who live in another person’s household if someone else in the home pays for or provides them with all of their meals.

The update could have broad implications, with the Social Security Administration saying that it reduced the benefits of 793,000 recipients as of January 2022 because they received help with food or shelter.

The rule change is one of several updates that Social Security said are in the works for SSI regulations, all aimed at helping people receiving and applying for benefits under the program.



Article from Michelle Diament –

SSA’s Announcement –