by Michelle Diament, DisabilityScoop.com, February 21, 2023
The Social Security Administration is looking to make a big change to the way that it determines monthly payments for people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Currently, SSI beneficiaries can see their payments docked — often by one-third — if someone else regularly provides them with meals or groceries. But under a new plan that would change.
In a proposed rule published this month in the Federal Register, the Social Security Administration said it wants to update its regulations to exclude food from the way it calculates what’s known as “in-kind support and maintenance.” In addition, the agency intends to tweak its definition of income to allow for this exception.
“We have historically included in-kind receipt of food in our consideration because food assistance helps people meet their basic needs. However, the complexities of our current food (in-kind support and maintenance) policies may outweigh their utility,” the Social Security Administration wrote in its proposal. “Moreover, the current (in-kind support and maintenance) policy may insert barriers into what would otherwise be an innocuous receipt of a meal or food from an individual’s friends or family. The current requirements for reporting in-kind food receipts could discourage SSI applicants and recipients from receiving an often informal but important form of help.”