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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    9

    Exclamation Social Security Reduced My Son's SSI Benefits

    I live in TN. I am my sons payee, he is 25 now.I recently moved 3 miles down the road. I was contacted last week by my Local SS office stating they needed my new address. I did call the main office, but evidently it didn't get changed. I thought no big deal, it was only a few weeks.
    My house pmt is the same, the bills are the same, with exception I will have a Gas bill now. No changes in who resides in my home. The lady was Rude and badgered me for at least an hour! She wanted to know everything! She really got hung up on food, wanted to know if it was separate or combined. I explained I shop for all of our food at once, but he is texture sensentive, so most of his food is different from ours as he is so picky. He rarely eats the same meal, you may wonder why I am going on about this. Well she wouldn't give! She said, well does he use any of your food, I said well, we share condiments!
    She asked how much I spent on him, I said app. 75.00 and then I get him Mcdonalds or something through the week.
    We went through all the rent, electric, etc.
    I stupiditly said he has a cell phone and interenet, which I use his money for, she stated "He is only allowed money for FOOD and Shelter, which does not include cable, phone, internet, clothing, games...
    So since I said he I allow him to use some of his money to have personal items, she stated "It was additional Income that I didn't report"!!
    I called the Main office the next day very upset, they said NEVER tell them anyhthing! She was very nice, but "ARE not they all GOV. Employees for SS!
    Bottom line, his Payee report says he is allowed to have things, and that he SHOULD have personal items if at all possible.
    I recieved a letter today from the local SS office stating they have reduced his benefits and I have to pay them back as he has been recieving addition income!
    Any help would be very much appreciated. My husband only makes 30,000 dollars a year. Its not like we are wealthy! With his benefits reduced, we will have to move. They may not think internet is important, but that is his world. He is Autistic.
    Thank you in Advance for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Social Security Reduced My Son's SSI Benefits

    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Social Security Reduced My Son's SSI Benefits

    All of the questions about household expenses for food and shelter are standard for adults living with other adults.

    The basic purpose of SSI is to provide funds that can be used for food and shelter for people who cannot provide for themselves because of a disability. Other sources of income are always factored into SSI. One extremely complex SSI regulation involves income that is called in-kind support and maintenance (ISM for short). When an SSI recipient gets either some free food or some free shelter, the value of that ISM is determined and affects the SSI benefits (reduces them) by up to 1/3 of the Federal Benefit Rate. Counts just like that money was in hand and not in kind. Getting free food or reduced rent or no rent is considered a source of free income and is counted as income for SSI. Since SSI "supplements" other sources of income, getting free food and/or free shelter does determine the amount of SSI payment.

    If a family member wants to provide the SSI recipient a nicer home than he could afford on his own, SSI will decide there is some kind of ISM in the form of free rent or shelter. The rules regarding ISM are very complex and one of the harder issues for new claims reps.

    You can have "luxuries" like cable TV, but that is not a form of in-kind income that is used in determing SSI benefits. But anything that meets the definition of food or shelter can and is used in determining SSI. So, it sounds like your son is not paying his 1/3 (three of you in the house?) of the groceries, mortgage, prop taxes, water, sewer, garbage, gas or elelctricity. He is not required to pay for that, but to get the most SSI payable, he does have to pay his pro-rata share. Hence the questions. Sorry you were treated rudely.

    I will look for an official link that explains it better.

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