When you are facing hard times, you probably have friends or family who want to help you maintain your home and provide you with food. However, receiving some kinds of assistance could cause you to lose some of your Supplemental Security Income. It depends on whether Social Security counts the help as in-kind support.
In-kind support generally refers to resources that are not money or do not have monetary value. While receiving in-kind support could improve your living situation, Social Security may decide that it reduces your need for SSI.
In-kind support that counts
Social Security explains that it defines in-kind support as food and shelter that another person gives you. In-kind support could also contribute in some form towards your rent or mortgage payments. If Social Security factors this assistance into your SSI and determines that the in-kind support has a high enough value, it will lower your SSI. Sometimes recipients can lose as much as $300.
In-kind support that does not count
You need not fear that all forms of help your family or friends give you will count against your SSI. Social Security does not consider in-kind support if you pay for your own food and shelter and live alone, or if you live with a spouse and children who are minors. In the latter case, no one apart from your household can contribute towards your shelter and food expenses.
The situation may become more complicated if you share a living space with other residents. Still, you may avoid a reduction in your SSI benefits if you pay a proper share of your shelter and food costs. While calculating your SSI can be a complicated matter, know that possibilities exist to get you the proper assistance to sustain your living situation.