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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Update: Important Changes Coming for 2024 Thumbnail

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Update: Important Changes Coming for 2024

SSI in a Nutshell

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a crucial program administered by the SSA that provides a monthly cash benefit to individuals with limited income and resources who are blind, age 65 or older, or have a qualifying disability.  

SSI Benefits in 2024 

In 2024, the maximum federal SSI benefit available to an applicant is $943 per month with many states providing a supplemental payment on top of this. However, not all applicants will qualify for this maximum amount. The actual benefit an individual receives depends on several factors, including: 

  • Earned Income: Wages or other compensation from work. 
  • Unearned Income: Income such as pensions or unemployment benefits. 
  • Assets: Resources like savings, property, and investments. 
  • In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM): Non-cash assistance such as food and shelter. 

Changes to ISM Definition 

Currently, ISM is defined as "food, shelter, or both that someone else provides for you." However, starting on October 1, 2024, the SSA will revise this definition. The new ISM criteria will only include shelter expenses, excluding food from the calculation as outlined on he Social Security website here. Specifically, ISM will cover: 

  • Room 
  • Rent 
  • Mortgage payments 
  • Real property taxes 
  • Heating fuel 
  • Gas 
  • Electricity 
  • Water 
  • Sewerage 
  • Garbage collection services 

Rationale for the Change 

The SSA has cited equity as the primary reason for this policy adjustment, as detailed in 89 FR 21199. Historically, in-kind receipt of food was included in ISM calculations because it helped individuals meet their basic needs. However, the SSA has recognized that the complexities of current food ISM policies outweigh their benefits. By removing food from ISM, the SSA aims to: 

  • Simplify policies, making them easier to understand and apply. 
  • Promote equity by treating food assistance equally, regardless of its source. 
  • Avoid putting vulnerable populations who receive food assistance at a disadvantage. 

This change is expected to make the SSI program more equitable and less burdensome for recipients to navigate, ensuring that food assistance does not negatively impact their benefits. 

Rental Subsidy Exception Updated Nationwide 

In addition to the changes in ISM definition, the SSA is finalizing a regulation to apply nationwide the In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) Rental Subsidy Exception, which was previously available only in seven states. This final rule will also go into effect October 1, 2024 and establishes that a “business arrangement” exists when the amount of monthly required rent for the property equals or exceeds the presumed maximum value (PMV), or 1/3rd of the max SSI benefit (2024 federal PMV is $334.33). This is in vast contrast to the current rules where rent must equal or exceed current market rental rates to avoid a reduction of benefits.  

 Under the new arrangement, the SSI applicant or recipient is not considered to be receiving ISM in the form of room or rent, providing more consistent treatment across different states. 


These updates reflect the SSA's ongoing efforts to refine and improve the SSI program to better serve individuals with limited income and resources. For individuals and families affected by these changes, understanding the full impact on your benefits is crucial. Van Hulzen Financial Advisors is here to help you navigate these updates and assess how they might influence your personal financial situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure you are making the most informed decisions regarding your SSI benefits. 

*The foregoing content reflects the opinions of Van Hulzen Asset Management DBA "Van Hulzen Financial Advisors" and is subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that the statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. Securities investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment plan or strategy will be successful.