He has been receiving benefits from the program for a few months now. However, they have been reducing his benefit by 1/3 as Social Security has determined that he is receiving "in kind support" from us because he is not paying rent.
The purpose of the SSI benefit is to provide funds for elderly or disabled individuals with limited assets and income. Due to his disability, he will probably never have any form of significant income. We are to use the funds to provide food, shelter, and any other living expenses that he might need, including entertainment.
The benefit that he receives has been a tremendous help for us. It has allowed us to use the funds to buy a lot of the things he needs on a daily basis. For instance, he has a tendency to break his glasses. We have had to buy several replacement pairs for him. Again, because of his disability, we have a lot of expenses that we would not have if he wasn't disabled. As helpful as the benefit is, we go through it fairly quickly. In fact, the first few months he received benefits we spent significantly more than he received.
Which brings me to the quandary. As I mentioned, Social Security has reduced his benefit by 1/3 of what he is eligible to receive. In speaking with them, it is because he is living with us and has no rent expense, though we do buy his own food for him. Social Security told me that if I were to write a letter to them stating that my son is paying rent, as well as paying for his own food, that they would consider raising his benefit to the full amount.
When I began working, I contributed to my family by giving money to my parents for "room and board." Since my son never really had any income, we never really considered charging him rent. I had always hoped that I would not have to ever charge my son rent, especially once we found out that he was disabled. If my son was in a group home, they would charge him rent, and he would get his full benefit.
If I were to charge my son rent, he could get his full benefit, which would help us a lot in taking care of him. Were I to take money out of his benefit for "rent," a portion of that would be used for my son as there would not be enough money left to cover the other things we have used the money for. So if you were me, would you maintain the status quo, or should I charge my son rent to get his full benefit?
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