I received $750 in SSI until May 2018, plus $130 in SNAP, and every year, they ask if I'm paying room rental. Then my mother usually signed an 801 form. However, this was the first time I heard about that since the investigator who was working on my case was different from the one who usually called me in the past. As of March 2017 to April 2018, I haven't been able to pay my parents who are head of the household because I had endured severe medical hardship, and then I accumulated credit card debts so I could survive, and I am currently paying for phone and internet, and, because I'm blind, I take cabs a lot, like Uber and Lyft. I also buy my own groceries and meals. Since the house is being mortgaged, and the money I should be paying would help them pay for it, was I legally obligated to pay them in any way? Since my mother told Social Security that I wasn't paying rent, my SSI was cut, which made it more problematic for me to get out of credit card debt, plus twenty months of rent. However, my attorney and I have a hearing in a few days and are going to argue

  • Nobody from Social Security, until that investigator called me in March 2018, told me that I had some obligation to pay rent, or that they were also required to go and confirm it with my parents.
  • Similarly, my mother's telling me to pay her could be considered hearsay since it was second-hand information.
  • As far as I know, I had never signed any 801 forms until April 2018.
  • On Friday, 17 February 2017, I asked the investigator who was checking up on me if I needed to report any new credit cards I opened. They assured me and said I didn't have to because I'd be paying for those. So, based on that statement, I assumed that as long as I was paying for something, I didn't have to pay my parents.

  • 5
    It is very unlikely that your parents' home is technically owned by the bank. If your parents bought a home with a mortgage, then they own the home, they owe the bank money, and in the wrong circumstances the bank could force them to sell the home.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 8:03
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    If you have an attorney, you should be asking them, not us. You're having a hearing of some sort, but we don't know whether they're going to try to make you pay back last year's benefits, whether they're investigating fraud, or whether they're just determining the benefits going forward.
    – D M
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 14:24
  • I'll also link you to ssa.gov/ssi/text-living-ussi.htm which explains some of the rules.
    – D M
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 14:35
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    Your social security payments are there to cover your needs, which, until recently, included rent payments to your mother. When your mother declared you were no longer paying rent, that was no longer a need that social security had to cover. Social security is not there to pay for your wants, and that includes your debts - those are your problem, no social securities, so they aren't covered under their obligation or payments.
    – user4210
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 14:58
  • I'd ask my attorney if he were available, but he hasn't been responding to my calls or E-mail. Anyway, would arguing that I had severe medical hardship and mental health issues, with substantiating evidence from a doctor or therapist prove useful? I seem to recall that there is something called a letter of hardship. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


It appears from the SSA website that a different benefit amount applies to people who live on their own or contribute to the household versus folks who get free or subsidized housing. From https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-general-ussi.htm

Live alone or pay your share of food and housing costs (Jan. 2019): $771 (individual)

Live in the household of another (Jan. 2019): $514 (individual)

There is also another page that goes into detail about how this works. Basically, your new case worker has decided that because you are still living at your parent's home and not contributing rent, your benefits should be reduced to the non-rent paying amount.

  • Upon reconsideration, they decided that my only rental obligation deduction should be $150 a month and not $250. The caseworker who reconsidered my case was the same one who had called me in the past and had a better understanding of my living situation. They still declared an overpayment, though. So I get about twenty dollars more than the non-rent amount. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 13:53
  • My friend thinks they may have found a loophole, which made me wonder why we haven't thought of it before. If a person can't pay rent, they would either have to get evicted unless they borrowed money. Since my parents didn't evict me, it means that they are still expecting me to pay back what I owe. So, by telling SSA that I'm not paying rent, it means that they made the situation worse for them because now they're not getting any money from me. Therefore, I could reasonably argue that I had taken out a loan and paid back my parents, and then say that I never received In-kind income. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 9:21
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    Don't think for a second the government hasn't heard that one before. They would want evidence of an loan or rental agreement and proof that you will indeed pay them back.
    – pboss3010
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 12:08

If I said that I wasn't paying, my SSI could be cut

If you are telling SSI that you are paying rent so they give you more money, and you aren't paying rent, that's fraud.

If you're filling out the form honestly, then your only obligation is to your parents. They are free to charge you or not charge you. Unless your name is on the mortgage, you have no obligation to the bank.

  • I updated this question so that an accurate answer can possibly be given. Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 13:51
  • I'd be careful with "if you don't pay rent". If you lived in a place owned by some landlord who charges you rent, and you didn't pay because you have no money, then you still owe the money.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 7:43

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