We all need shelter. The nature of that shelter will differ for many Michigan residents. For those who receive Supplemental Security Income, where a person lives can affect his or her SSI award.

A person who lives on his own, paying for his own food and shelter expenses, may be able to obtain the maximum SSI award in Michigan. Similarly, a person who lives in another’s household may also be able to obtain the maximum benefit amount, as long as he pays his own costs for shelter and food.

In contrast, a person who lives with another, but either pays for food and shelter in part, or not at all, may find that his SSI benefits are reduced by up to one-third. There is an exception to this rule, however if a person’s spouse shares the home and covers food and shelter expenses. Similarly, a minor child’s benefits will not be reduced if a parent provides for the minor child’s food and shelter expenses.

Michigan residents may obtain certain household and personal items as gifts and have no subsequent effect on their SSI benefits. A gift of a small household appliance or clothing will not alter a person’s SSI benefit amount. Fortunately, those who are homeless may also be able to receive the maximum SSI award. Additionally, upon receiving SSI benefits, homeless Michigan residents may also qualify for subsidized housing.

A person who has questions about the requirements for obtaining SSI, as well as the factors that might alter an SSI award, may wish to seek legal counsel, as the SSA imposes sometimes complex requirements that can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life and benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Spotlight on Living Arrangements – 2015 Edition,” accessed Dec. 26, 2015