SSA Seeks Input on Needs of Homeless SSI Recipients

from “Memo to Members” by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, January 13, 2012

The Social Security Administration (SSA) published a Request for Comments on the unique needs of homeless Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients on January 12. Comments are due 60 days after the notice’s publication in the Federal Register.

“A homeless individual may receive SSI payments and (in some States) associated Medicaid coverage, as long as he or she meets all of the basic eligibility requirements for the SSI program. Subject to some exceptions, residents of public institutions generally are ineligible for SSI because the institution in which they reside provides them with both housing and basic subsistence needs. One of these exceptions provides that individuals who reside in a public emergency shelter for the homeless may be eligible for up to 6 months of SSI payments in any 9-month period. By contrast, individuals who live in private shelters for the homeless are eligible to receive SSI payments with no limitation on the number of months if they meet all other SSI eligibility requirements,” says SSA in the notice.

Given the different eligibility standards for individuals seeking services in public and private shelters, SSA specifically seeks comments on whether public and private shelters differ in their ability to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness and if there are differences in the populations served by public and private shelters. SSA also seeks input as to whether SSI eligibility rules hinder the ability of people to access shelter.

Memo readers are encouraged to submit comments in response to the notice.

The full notice is available at