When People Help You While You Wait for SSI

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


When you apply for SSI, it can take a long time before you get your first check. During this time, you have to find a way to get by and you may get gifts or loans from friends or family. Whether the help is a gift or loan can make a big difference in the amount of back SSI benefits you can get. Read this document for more information.

While I wait for my SSI, what happens if a friend or relative helps me?

  • If someone gives you money or food or clothing or a place to live, this can affect how much SSI you get. It makes a big difference whether the help is a gift or a loan.
  • If you receive a gift while you are waiting for SSI, Social Security will count the gift as income when it figures out your back SSI checks.
    • For example, if you live in someone else's house without having to pay the fair rent or your fair share of all household expenses, Social Security may say you are receiving a gift.
    • Social Security will reduce your back checks, usually by one third.
    • Social Security will also keep reducing your checks until you show you are now paying your share.
  • If you receive a loan while you wait for a decision on your SSI case, you get the full amount of your SSI. This way, you should get enough back benefits to repay the loans.

How can I show Social Security I am getting a loan?

  • You need to show you promised to pay back the money or other help. For example, you can show that someone let you live in his house after you promised to pay a fair amount for back rent once you receive your back checks.
  • The agreement does not have to be in writing.
  • However, the easiest way to convince Social Security is to have it in writing. Write the agreement out. Both you and the person making the loan should sign. That way you can give Social Security a copy.
  • If Social Security talks to the person who helped you, he should let Social Security know it was a loan.

Reviewed August 2008

AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online at intake.alsp.org.

Last Review and Update: Aug 21, 2008
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