Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

SSI: What is the One-Third Reduction Provision?

The Social Security Administration runs the Supplemental Security Income program to provide financial support people who have limited income and other resources owing to their inability to work as a result of their disability, blindness or advanced age. In addition to these people, some children with qualifying disabilities and blindness may be eligible for SSI. At present, the SSI benefit amount is $750 per month for individuals and $1,125 per month for couples.

As SSI benefits are primarily based on an individual's income and resources, the SSA tries to ensure that a recipient is not awarded more than what is actually required because the SSI program is funded by money that the government earns from personal income taxes, corporate taxes and other similar taxes. In order to achieve that goal, the SSA may reduce the benefits of a recipient under certain circumstances.

One such reduction in SSI is because of what is known as the One-Third Reduction Provision. This provision applies if an SSI benefits recipient lives in another person's household for an entire month and does not contribute to the food and shelter expenses of that household. In such cases, the SSA reduces that recipient's monthly SSI benefits by one-third, or 33 percent. That translates to SSI benefits of $500 per month for individuals and $750 per month for couples.

According to existing guidelines, an SSI recipient should inform the SSA about the change of residence within 10 days after that change occurs. Along with the intimation of the change of residence, the SSI recipient must also inform the SSA regarding any monetary contributions made to that household, along with details such as how many people live in that household and who purchases the food.

Under certain circumstances, however, the One-Third Reduction Provision does not apply. For example, if a recipient moves in with a family and starts contributing the pro rata share of that household's monthly expenses, SSI benefits will not reduce. Also, if the recipient moves out of a household in the middle of a month and starts to pay for his or her own food and shelter, the SSI benefits will remain unchanged.

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