New Proposed Rule Effects In-Kind Support and Maintenance Calculation

By Jill Roamer, J.D., CIPP/US

If an individual receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)* receives certain types of payments, those payments must be reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and their benefits may be reduced, often quite significantly. The most common distribution that would need to be reported is payment of income in the form of food or shelter, referred to as In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM). ISM occurs when distributions are made not only for groceries, rent, or a mortgage payment, but also for basic utilities such as natural gas, water, electricity, sewerage, and garbage collection.

Last week, the SSA published a proposed rule that seeks to exclude food from the ISM calculation. The proposed rule states: “We propose to update our regulations to exclude food from the calculation of ISM.”

The public comment period for the proposed rule closes on April 17, 2023. The SSA is accepting public comments via fax, mail, and Internet. If implemented, the new rule would be a huge benefit to SSI recipients, not only in being able to receive food from others but also resulting in less burdensome reporting requirements.

* Not Social Security Retirement benefits

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