The Supplemental Security Income program provides cash assistance to seniors and disabled people with limited incomes. SSI eligibility and payment amounts depend partly on living arrangements. So you may want to know what will happen if you receive SSI but then move in with your adult children.
Living with others can reduce but usually does not completely eliminate SSI benefits. The key factors are whether people you live with help pay for your food and shelter, and if so, by how much.
If you move in with your adult offspring or anyone else who covers all your food and housing costs, SSI rules assume you receive in-kind income in the form of free room and board. This can trigger a one-third reduction in your SSI payment, about $305 per month for an individual in 2023.
On the other hand, if you pay your fair share, based on the number of people in the household, there should be no reduction. Paying something but less than an equal share still results in the full one-third deduction, however.
Limiting residence time
You may avoid the one-third rule if you live in the house for only part of a month or do not receive both food and shelter from others. However, Social Security still can deem you to be receiving in-kind support up to presumed maximum monthly values.
Here too, paying your fair share means no deeming applies. And if the actual support you receive is less than the presumed maximums, you can provide evidence to reduce the deduction.
While moving in with others can reduce SSI, it rarely cuts off eligibility entirely. As the Social Security website explains, the first $20 per month of any income, earned or unearned, does not count as income, Additionally, SSI rules let you keep the first $65 of monthly wages plus half of remaining earnings.
Collectively, income deductions must zero out your benefit for 12 straight months before SSI termination. During that time, increased earnings or reduced in-kind support could restore payments.
Before moving in with adult kids or anyone else, you should understand how living arrangements might affect your SSI eligibility and payment status. Cohabitation can complicate matters, so careful planning and communications with the Social Security Administration should help ensure the continuance of benefits.