[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 8 (Thursday, January 12, 2012)]
[Pages 1971-1972]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-406]



[Docket No. SSA-2011-0087]

Supplemental Security Income and Homeless Individuals

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Notice; Request for Comments.


SUMMARY: We are requesting information from the public regarding the 
unique needs of homeless Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, 
particularly those who live in public emergency shelters for the 
homeless, in an effort to better understand and

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address their needs. The SSI program provides a minimum income level 
for aged, blind, or disabled persons who do not have income or 
resources above levels specified in the Social Security Act (Act).

DATES: To ensure that your comments are considered, we must receive 
them no later than March 12, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods--
Internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times 
or by more than one method. Regardless of which of the following 
methods you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. 
SSA-2011-0087 so that we may associate your comments with the correct 
    Caution: You should be careful to include in your comments only 
information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge 
you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as 
Social Security numbers or medical information.
    1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments 
via the Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the Search function of the Web page to find 
docket number SSA-2011-0087. The system will issue you a tracking 
number to confirm your submission. It may take up to one week for your 
comment to be viewable.
    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.
    3. Mail: Mail your comments to the Office of Regulations, Social 
Security Administration, 107 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security 
Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.
    Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person, during 
regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Al Fatur, Office of Income Security 
Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, 
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, (410) 965-9855. For information on 
eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 
1-(800) 772-1213 or TTY 1-(800) 325-0778, or visit our Internet site, 
Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.



    The primary goal of the SSI program is to ensure a minimum level of 
income to people aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled, and who have 
limited income and resources. SSI serves an important role in the lives 
of its recipients, including those individuals who are homeless. 
According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban 
Development's (HUD) 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, almost 
650,000 people were homeless on a single night in January 2010, an 
increase of 1.1 percent over the same figure in January 2009.\1\ HUD 
also reported that, in 2010, over 1.59 million people spent at least 1 
night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program; the vast 
majority of these individuals (nearly 80 percent) spent time only in an 
emergency shelter.\2\

    \1\ United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, 
The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, at 5, 7 
(available at: http://www.hudhre.info/documents/2010HomelessAssessmentReport.pdf).
    \2\ Id., at 9, 10.

    A homeless individual may receive SSI payments and (in some States) 
associated Medicaid coverage, as long as he or she meets all of the 
basic eligibility requirements for the SSI program. Subject to some 
exceptions, residents of public institutions generally are ineligible 
for SSI \3\ because the institution in which they reside provides them 
with both housing and basic subsistence needs. One of these exceptions 
provides that individuals who reside in a public emergency shelter for 
the homeless may be eligible for up to 6 months of SSI payments in any 
9-month period.\4\ By contrast, individuals who live in private 
shelters for the homeless are eligible to receive SSI payments with no 
limitation on the number of months if they meet all other SSI 
eligibility requirements.

    \3\ See section 1611(e)(1)(A) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 
    \4\ See section 1611(e)(1)(D) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 
1382(e)(1)(D) and 20 CFR 416.201 and 416.211(d).

Request for Comments

    We are requesting information regarding the unique needs of the 
Nation's homeless population, particularly the needs of those 
individuals who are SSI recipients and who reside in public emergency 
shelters, in an effort to better understand and address those needs. We 
ask that, in preparing comments, you address questions such as:
    1. What is your experience with SSI recipients in homeless 
    2. In your experience, do both public and private homeless shelters 
meet the needs of the homeless in the same way? If they differ in how 
they meet the needs of the homeless, how do they differ?
    3. Do individuals rely on public emergency shelters exclusively to 
address short-term needs, or is transitioning out of such shelters into 
permanent housing becoming more difficult? Is the short-term assistance 
provided by public emergency shelters meeting the transitional needs of 
SSI recipients?
    4. What specific needs do public emergency shelters meet?
    5. Do public emergency shelters usually address the health care 
needs of individuals in the shelter? To what extent do individuals in 
public emergency shelters rely on Medicaid to meet their health care 
    6. Do residents of public emergency shelters usually lose their 
Medicaid coverage if they stay longer than 6 consecutive months and 
their SSI is suspended?
    7. Do current SSI eligibility rules present obstacles to homeless 
individuals who are in need of emergency shelter?
    8. Do current SSI eligibility rules present obstacles to 
individuals who are trying to transition from a public emergency 
shelter to a permanent living arrangement?
    9. After residing in a public emergency shelter for 6 months, do 
SSI recipients tend to remain there until they can transition to a 
permanent living arrangement or do they consider other options?
    Please see the information under ADDRESSES earlier in this document 
for methods to give us your comments. We will not respond to your 
comments, but we will consider them as we review our policies and 
instructions to determine if we should revise or update them.

Michael J. Astrue,
Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 2012-406 Filed 1-11-12; 8:45 am]