Asked in Social Security for California

Q: My dad gets SSI, living alone. If my dad moves to my new 2nd home, paying rent to me, will his SSI remain the same?

My 83 year old dad receives SSI ($900/month) and lives in a subsidized senior apartment, paying rent of $300 per month (not sure whether he's in section 8). I'm thinking of buying a 2nd home soon and want him to live there by himself (he likes to as well), as it'll be nicer, but my dad will be paying $300 per month to me as rent. In this situation, will his SSI amount remain the same? Also, what process with SSA do we need go through to make this change happen? Thank you in advance!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: Your dad's living arrangement could affect his SSI, so care will need to be taken so that he continues to get his maximum amount of SSI benefits. With only a few precautions, what you and your dad are planning is a very doable arrangement.

Your dad can get the maxim SSI benefit if her lives in your household and pays his fair share of food, shelter, and utilities. Generally, Social Security determines his fair share is by adding food, shelter and utilities expenses and dividing by the number of people (adult and children) living in the house. If your dad lives with you but doesn't pay food and shelter costs, Social Security considers that he is receiving in-kind support and maintenance from you and will reduce his SSI benefits. Even if your dad pays only a small part of the cost of food, shelter, and utility costs, Social Security may not consider this his fair share and may reduce his SSI benefit. The amount of reduction could be up to one–third of the SSI Federal benefit rate. For general information about the one-third rule see

Since your dad plans to pay rent for the room and utilities in your home, the rent would need to be the fair market or going rate to rent a room with utilities included in the area. (You may want to have a rental agreement signed for this arrangement as well). If he also pays his own food expenses, he would not be receiving any in-kind support and maintenance. I is a good idea to consult with a disability attorney before you make these changes so that they can discuss the particulars of your dad's situation.

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