EFFECTIVE/PUBLICATION DATE: 11/09/90
SSR 90-4a: SECTIONS 209(r) AND 1612(a) OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT (42 U.S.C. 409(r) AND 1382a(a)) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME -- UNEARNED INCOME -- VALUE OF LODGING FURNISHED FOR EMPLOYER'S CONVENIENCE ON EMPLOYER'S PREMISES AS A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT
20 CFR 404.1043(b), 416.1110(a), 416.1120, and 416.1140
- The claimant, a supplemental security income recipient, lives in an apartment which rents for $550 per month. She pays only $350. The landlord, a property management company, stated that the claimant pays a reduced rent because she collects rent payments from the other tenants in the apartment complex. The property manager, her employer, requires the claimant to reside at the apartment complex to perform the rent collection services. Held: The $200 is unearned in-kind income because it is not wages for the Social Security retirement program's earnings test, and, thus, is not earned income under 20 CFR § 416.1110(a). Accordingly, the presumed value rule (20 CFR § 416.1140) applies in calculating the claimant's supplemental security income.
The issue before the Appeals Council is whether the $200 reduction in rent the claimant receives as the apartment rent collector is earned or unearned income for purposes of calculating her supplemental security income benefits.
In late 1987, the Social Security Administration notified the claimant, a supplemental security income recipient, that it intended to decrease the amount of her monthly supplemental security income payment under the "presumed value rule" at 20 CFR § 416.1140 because she was paying less than fair market value for her apartment. The claimant disagreed with the finding. She stated that her monthly rent was $350 rather than the usual $550 because she collects rent from the other tenants for the property manager.
The Administrative Law Judge found that the $200 per month in-kind income was earned income subject to the earned income exclusions.
The Appeals Council does not adopt the findings and conclusions of the Administrative Law Judge.
Subsequent to the Administrative Law Judge's decision, the Appeals Council received information from the property manager confirming that the claimant had resided at her present address since November 1987 and that she pays $200 less in rent because of her rent collection services. The property manager's office stated that the claimant is required to reside on the premises to perform the rent collection duties and that this is an employer-employee relationship.
The regulations at 20 CFR § 416.1110(a) state that wages for supplemental security income purposes are the same as wages for the Social Security retirement program's earnings test. Wages for the earnings test, with some limited exceptions which do not apply here, are the same as wages for the purpose of Social Security coverage. The Social Security Act, § 209 (42 U.S.C. § 409), and regulations at 20 CFR § 404.1043(b) exclude from wages the value of employer-furnished lodging, if, as pertinent in the claimant's case, the lodging is furnished on the employer's business premises for the convenience of the employer and the employee is required to accept lodging on the employer's business premises as a condition of employment. Thus, the $200 value in lodging is not in-kind earned income under 20 CFR § 416.1110(a).
Pursuant to the Social Security Act, § 1612(a)(2) (42 U.S.C. § 1382a(a)(2)), and the regulations, 20 CFR § 416.1120, income which is not earned income is unearned income. Accordingly, the Appeals Council finds that the $200 value of lodging the claimant receives is in-kind unearned income, and that the presumed value rule set forth at 20 CFR § 416.1140 applies in calculating the claimant's supplemental security income monthly payment rate.