Many older adults living in California receive Supplemental Security Income from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Qualifying for these monthly payments as an older adult requires proving limited income and the payments seek to make day-to-day life more affordable and manageable for older individuals who have few other resources available to them.
Per AARP, advocates have long fought to reform the nation’s SSI program, and a newly proposed change could prove advantageous for older SSI recipients if it ultimately takes shape.
What the rule change would do
If passed, the new rule would alter how the SSA handles “in-kind support or maintenance,” or ISM. ISM involves food and shelter expenses that someone else other than a spouse covers for SSI applicants. The SSI currently considers this a form of income and includes it when deciding if an applicant qualifies. However, the rule change would change this and effectively omit food expenses from what it counts as income.
How the rule change could benefit applicants
If the new rule change does wind up taking effect, it would increase the amount many SSI recipients get in their monthly checks. More specifically, it would inflate the amount received from recipients who may have help from friends and family when it comes to paying for basic living expenses.
Advocates for the rule change argue that while it would give certain individuals more money in their SSI checks, it would also help reduce red tape and bureaucratic issues that often cause delays in processing claims. It may, too, simplify the application process and make it more digestible for the general public.