What is ISM?

ISM is an acronym used by the Social Security Administration which refers to “In Kind Support Maintenance”, which can reduce the amount of a recipient’s SSI.

Currently, the SSA considers any in-kind support and maintenance provided to an SSI recipient, such as free or reduced-cost food and housing, as “income” that reduces the amount of the recipient’s SSI payments. This policy has been in place for decades and is intended to ensure that individuals don’t receive more than their fair share of government assistance. The value of ISM is determined using one of two rules:

  • The Value of One-Third Reduction (VTR) – a person living in another person’s household receiving food and shelter from others in the household.
  • The Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) – a person living on their own or in someone else’s household who receives help with either food or shelter but not both. The PMV is equal to one-third of that individual’s SSI federal benefit rate plus $20. The 2023 maximum monthly SSI benefit amount for an individual is $914 and $1,371 for an eligible person with an eligible spouse.