SSR 79-6: SECTION 1611(e)(1)(A) (42 U.S.C. 1382(e)(1)(A)) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME -- ELIGIBILITY -- EFFECT OF BRIEF ABSENCES FROM PUBLIC INSTITUTION
20 CFR 416.231(b)(4)
- The claimant for supplemental security income has been confined to a State mental hospital since 1957. She spends 3 days each week in the home of her brother. Because of her consistent weekly absences from the hospital, she contended she is not hospitalized through an entire month and, therefore, should be eligible for benefits. Held, in accordance with section 416.231(b)(4) of Social Security Regulation No. 16, which provides that "brief periods of absence while continuing in the status of an inmate of an institution and lasting not more than 14 consecutive days would not interrupt a continuous stay in the institution," the claimant is an inmate of a public institution continuously throughout each month and therefore is not eligible for supplemental security income.
The general issue is whether the claimant is not entitled to supplemental security income because section 1611(e)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act states that an individual who is an inmate in a public institution throughout a month is not eligible for SSI for that month. The specific issue is whether the claimant is an inmate of a public institution "throughout a month" as that term is used in section 1611(e)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act and defined in section 416.231 of Social Security Regulations No. 16.
The claimant, age 64, has been in the State hospital, a public institution, since 1957 because of a mental impairment. The claimant receives disability insurance benefits in the amount of $106.00 a month. Her brother acts as representative payee and uses the money to pay for his sister's medical care, clothing, transportation, and food. He reported that the claimant spends every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at his house. Because the claimant spends 3 days a week away from the hospital and does not eat or sleep there during that time, he contended on behalf of the claimant that she was not institutionalized throughout a month. Therefore, she should be eligible for supplemental security income benefits.
Section 1611(e)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act provides that no person shall be an eligible individual for purposes of supplemental security income benefits for any month if throughout that month the person is an inmate of public institution.
Section 416.231(b)(4) of Social Security Regulations No. 16 defines "throughout a month" as a continuous stay involving 24 hours of every day. The regulation also provides that "brief periods of absence while continuing in the status of an inmate of the institution and lasting not more than 14 consecutive days, would not interrupt a continuous stay in the institution."
Although the claimant is frequently absent form the public institution, these absences are of short duration. They are not long enough to interrupt a continuous stay in the public institution since they are much less time than the 14 consecutive days required by section 416.231(b)(4). Therefore, since the claimant has been an inmate of a public institution since August 1977, the month in which her application was filed, and in every month since then, she is not eligible for supplemental security income under title XVI of the Social Security Act.