Story of Justice: Alex and Sofia Fight for Their Social Security Benefits
Alex* and Sofia*, a husband and wife in their 90s, had recently moved to Florida from NJ. They lived in a home owned by their son, where they paid 750 dollars in rent monthly. When the couple recertified for their SSI benefits, Social Security mandated in-kind support (a reduction in their benefits) for 175 dollars each as an adjustment for what they deemed to be a reduced monthly rent.
Social Security started withholding 10% of the benefit amount from their checks for overpayment since the couple moved into the home. This left Alex and Sofia with just $500 combined to live on. They knew this would not be enough for them to survive, so Alex reached out to Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida for free legal assistance.
Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida reached out to Social Security. The couple’s son was then required to complete a form stating who owned the property and the amount of rent normally charged to a non-family member. Turns out the property was owned by a Trust that the son managed, which usually charged $850.00 in rent for it. This amount was not unreasonably reduced from the $750 that Alex and Sofia were paying.
Why it Matters
Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida assisted the couple and their son in submitting the form to Social security. As a result, Social Security removed the in-kind support, restored their benefits, and both Alex and Sofia received repayments for the monies Social Security had withheld from them.
*Names and images have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients
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