Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be affected by living in a nursing home, though the type of facility in which you’re residing determines how – or even whether or not – your benefits are negatively impacted by your living arrangements. Additionally, how long you’re in the nursing home also plays a part in whether or not your benefits are affected and how they’re affected.
It’s crucial to note that you must notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of any change in your living arrangements, which includes entering or leaving a nursing home or other type of medical or skilled nursing facility. Failure to notify the SSA can cause your benefits to end and can even result in you owing the SSA for repayment of SSI benefits your received while residing in a medical facility.
In most cases, SSI benefits are ended, or at least put on hold, during a nursing home stay. There are some exceptions to this rule though. If your stay in a nursing facility will be short, your benefits may not be affected at all.
If you’re staying for a longer period in a public nursing facility and Medicaid is footing the bill for your stay, then your SSI benefits may be stopped for the duration of your resident status at the facility. If on the other hand you’re admitted to a private nursing home for an extended stay, your SSI benefits may actually be supplemented by state disability benefits (dependent upon the state in which you live), which means your monthly stipend will increase during your stay rather than decrease or end.
To ensure your benefits are accurately processed, you must proactively communicate with the SSA regarding your nursing home stay. This is true no matter what the ultimate outcome is for your monthly SSI payments – whether they’re stopped, paused, reduced, or supplemented by state benefits.
You must inform the SSA of your admittance to the nursing facility regardless. If your stay will be short, and your doctor informs the SSA in writing that you’ll be in the home for 90 days or less, then your SSI benefits will not be reduced, paused or suspended. You must also inform the SSA you need your SSI benefits to maintain your permanent residence for when you’re released from the nursing home. If you do these two things, you’ll continue to receive benefits as usual during your residence at the facility
The SSA denotes the benefits you receive during a temporary nursing home stay of 90 days or less as “temporary institutionalization benefits”. Whether you’re staying in a public hospital or a Medicaid-certified nursing facility, you can qualify for temporary institutionalization benefits, as long as you and your doctor communicate the required information to the SSA in the appropriate time frame.
If your stay extends beyond that 90 day window however, you will need to notify the SSA of the change in plans and your benefits may be stopped at that point.