TN 108 (08-23)

SI 00835.001 Introduction to Living Arrangements and In-Kind Support and Maintenance


Social Security Act as amended, Section 1612(a)(2)(A) ;
Regulations - 20 CFR 416.1130

A. Policy on living arrangements and in-kind support maintenance

In-kind support and maintenance (ISM) is unearned income in the form of food or shelter, or both. The Social Security Act (the Act) considers ISM, along with other forms of unearned income, when determining supplemental security income (SSI) eligibility and payment amounts. We use two rules to determine the value of ISM an individual receives:

  1. 1. 

    the Value of the One-Third Reduction (VTR) rule, discussed in SI 00835.200; and

  2. 2. 

    the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) rule, discussed in SI 00835.300.


Based on a change in the SSI regulations, beginning 03/09/2005, we do not count receipt of clothing as ISM. For policy and procedures pertaining to in-kind support and maintenance to one person, see SI 00835.400.

1. Value of the one-third reduction (VTR) rule

We reduce the applicable Federal benefit rate (FBR) by one-third when an individual or couple:

  • Lives throughout a month in another person's household; and

  • Receives both food and shelter from others living in that household.

(For a detailed explanation of the VTR, see SI 00835.200).

2. Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) rule

When a beneficiary or couple is eligible for payment and the VTR does not apply, use the PMV rule to determine the value of ISM received. The amount of the PMV is equal to one-third of the Federal benefit rate for an individual or couple, plus $20. If the individual or couple successfully rebuts the PMV, value the ISM at the current market value (CMV) or the actual value (AV), whichever is less. (For a detailed explanation of the PMV rule, see SI 00835.300 and for information about rebutting the PMV, see SI 00835.320).


When the VTR rule applies in any one month, the PMV rule cannot apply in the same month.

B. Policy on sequence in developing living arrangement basis

The Social Security Administration (SSA) follows a prescribed sequence in developing an individual’s living arrangement (LA) basis to ensure we use the correct ISM valuation rule, and we do not overlook sources of ISM. Develop the LA basis for only the permanent residence.

Following are references pertaining to the 10 categories used in determining the LA basis.

  1. 1. 

    SI 00520.001, Residence in an Institution

  2. 2. 

    SI 00835.790, Noninstitutional care

  3. 3. 

    SI 00835.110, Home ownership

  4. 4. 

    SI 00835.120, Rental liability including flat fee for room and board

  5. 5. 

    SI 00835.130, Public assistance (PA) households (i.e., presumed sharing)

  6. 6. 

    SI 00835.140, Separate consumption

  7. 7. 

    SI 00835.150, Separate purchase of food

  8. 8. 

    SI 00835.160, Sharing

  9. 9. 

    SI 00835.170, Earmarked sharing

  10. 10. 

    SI 00835.200, The one-third reduction (VTR) provision

    (For instructions on determining a temporary absence from a permanent residence, see SI 00835.040).

When an individual alleges two or more LA basis in the same residence (e.g., rental liability and sharing), develop, and document the LA basis highest in the sequence in SI 00835.001B in this section.

Do not develop the LA basis lower in the sequence, unless the sequentially lower LA is material to the issue of inside ISM.

C. Policy on relationship between LA basis and ISM

Use the beneficiary’s LA basis to determine if they received chargeable ISM, and whether the ISM is valued under the VTR rule, or under the PMV rule.

1. Non-household situations

Use the PMV rule to determine the value of any ISM the beneficiary receives. The PMV is the only applicable ISM rule in non-household situations because a beneficiary must be part of a household for the VTR to apply.

  • A transient or homeless person is not a resident of a household, so you must value ISM under the PMV rule (For information on transient or homeless individuals, and LA/ISM determinations, see SI 00835.060).

  • A resident of an institution is not a member of a household, so you must value ISM under the PMV rule (For information on in-kind support and maintenance provided residents of institutions, see SI 00835.704).

2. Household situations

a. Beneficiary is not a transient or a resident of an institution

When the beneficiary is not a transient or a resident of an institution, consider the beneficiary to be living in a household. (For policy on the sequence of development for LA basis, see SI 00835.001B, categories 2-10 in this section).

b. Beneficiary in a household of one

A beneficiary is in a household of one, if they live alone or live in non-institutional care, see SI 00835.790. Use the PMV rule to determine the value of any ISM the individual receives. The VTR cannot apply to a beneficiary in a household of one, because the beneficiary has no other household members from whom they can receive ISM.

D. Exceptions to charging In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM)

The general rule is to charge ISM to a beneficiary when they receive food or shelter, regardless of who is liable for payment of the cost of the food or shelter.

There are numerous exceptions to the general rule. When an exception applies, the food or shelter a beneficiary receives is not chargeable ISM. Some of these exceptions result from statutory exclusions (i.e., Title XVI of the Social Security Act, or other Federal laws that specifically exclude from income, the value of food or shelter received). Other exceptions result from situations in which the food or shelter received does not constitute income in accordance with regulations. We do not charge ISM when a beneficiary receives food or shelter:

  • specifically excluded by Federal law, e.g., the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. For the guide to unearned income exclusions, see SI 00830.099;

  • that meets the criteria for exclusion of infrequent or irregular unearned income, see SI 00810.410;

  • that has no current market value; for details on rebuttal rule and procedures, see SI 00835.320);

  • provided under a governmental (Federal, State, or local) medical or social service program. For information on medical and social services, related cash and in-kind items, see SI 00815.050 ;

  • that is assistance based on need (ABON) from a State, or one of its political subdivisions. For information on assistance based on need (ABON), see SI 00830.175;

  • provided by someone living in the same household whose income is subject to deeming to the beneficiary. For more information on deeming in kind income, see SI 01320.150;


ISM received by a deemor is not deemable income to the beneficiary, unless the deemor is a sponsor, or an essential person.

  • received at school by a child under age 22, not subject to deeming, who receives food or shelter only at school, while temporarily absent from their permanent LA, e.g., parental household. For more information temporary absence of a child from a federal LA due to school absence, see SI 00835.042;


ISM of food and shelter may still be chargeable based on the circumstances in the child’s permanent LA. If a child is subject to deeming, charge ISM for food and shelter received at school, if someone other than the deemor pays for the food and shelter.

  • during a temporary absence. For more information on temporary absence from a federal LA, see SI 00835.040;

  • that replaces lost, damaged, or stolen resource. This includes temporary housing. For more information on cash and in-kind items received for the repair or replacement of lost, damaged, or stolen excluded resources, see SI 01130.630;

  • excluded under an approved plan for self-support. For an overview on plans to achieve self-support, see SI 00870.001;

  • received because of payments made under the terms of a credit life or credit disability policy. For more information on credit life or credit disability insurance payments, see SI 00815.300; or

  • received during medical confinement in an institution. For more information on food and shelter received during a medical confinement, see SI 00815.100.

E. Policy for maximum amount of countable ISM

We do not charge any additional ISM when a beneficiary or couple:

  • receives ISM based on the VTR. For more information on the one-third reduction provision, see SI 00835.200, or

  • receives ISM and we charge the PMV. For more information on PMV, see SI 00835.300.

F. References

SI 00835.200, The One-Third Reduction Provision - General

SI 00835.300, Presumed Maximum Value Rule

SI 00835.500, First-of-the-Month (FOM) Residence and ISM Determinations

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SI 00835.001 - Introduction to Living Arrangements and In-Kind Support and Maintenance - 08/14/2023
Batch run: 08/14/2023