How Can You Spend Your SSI Payments?

Picture of a woman shopping in a grocery store

You may be wondering if there are limitations for what you can spend your monthly SSI payment on. If you receive SSI payments directly, it’s vital to keep track of how your spending impacts your assets to ensure you do not lose your benefits. If you are a representative payee, you must adhere to specific spending guidelines. Let’s take a closer look.


Ensure Your Resources Are In Line with SSA’s Limits

Overall, the best way to spend your SSI benefits is on necessities like food, housing, healthcare, and other living expenditures.

Yet, you should be wary of the possibility of increasing your assets. The Social Security Administration (SSA) examines each SSI recipient’s “countable resources” to ensure that they are within the program’s restrictions. For example, if you are single, you must have no more than $2,000 in countable resources; if you are married, you must have no more than $3,000.

Buying assets for example, is allowed, but it might increase your assets and push your resources over their limit. Saving money might lead to this, so make sure you stay below the resource restriction if you have savings.

Know How Household Costs Can Impact Your Benefits

Another thing to keep an eye on is your household costs, such as rent, electricity, and mortgage payments. These costs are usually split among the family members. Still, you must pay a fair amount to protect your SSI payment from being reduced by the Social Security Administration. It might be deemed a gain in your resources if someone else, such as a relative, is shouldering your household payments. If you live with your spouse, there is an exemption.

Follow Guidelines if You Are a Representative Payee

Some SSI recipients require the assistance of a representative payee to handle their benefit payments. For example, suppose you are a parent or other SSI representative payee. In that case, you must utilize the monthly payment in the recipient’s best interests.

The SSA has strict expenditure rules to ensure this. One requirement is that the check is used for the recipient’s “maintenance,” and the rep payee must open a dedicated savings account in the recipient’s name to keep the remaining funds in the recipient’s name. Rep payees may also spend the money on other items such as recreational activities or debt repayment, as long as they are in the recipient’s best interests and their basic needs are met.

Need Help with Your SSI Benefits?

Whether you are a direct recipient or representative payee, the SSI benefits requirements can be complicated. If you want to use the money for something other than your essential requirements, be sure you understand how it may affect your benefits. The attorneys at DAM can assist you in clarifying any of your concerns and maximizing your benefit payouts. Call us at 800-949-2900 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.