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Presumed Maximum Value Rule

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2144. Presumed Maximum Value Rule

2144.1 How is in-kind support and maintenance valued under the presumed maximum value rule?

Instead of determining the actual value of in-kind support and maintenance, we presume that its value is not more than an amount equal to one-third of the applicable FBR plus $20. Unlike the value of the one-third reduction, the presumed maximum value amount can be contested.

2144.2 Can you show that the actual value of in-kind support and maintenance is less than the presumed value?

If you can show that the actual value of the food or shelter you receive is less than the presumed maximum value, we use the actual value in computing countable income.

2144.3 When does the presumed maximum value rule apply?

The presumed maximum value rule applies whenever you receive food or shelter and the one-third-reduction rule does not apply. (See §2142.4.) Presumed maximum value situations are:

  1. Living throughout a month in another person's household but not receiving both food and shelter from that person;

  2. Living in your own household, but someone outside your household pays for the rent, utilities or food; or

  3. Living in a non-medical institution.

Note: Room and board provided by anyone during a medical confinement does not count as income at all.

2144.4 Are there any exceptions to applying the presumed maximum value rule?

The value of any in-kind support and maintenance provided to you while living in a private nonprofit retirement home or similar institution is excluded, provided:

  1. The in-kind support and maintenance is furnished by the institution itself or a nonprofit tax-exempt organization; and

  2. The institution or private nonprofit organization does not have an express obligation to provide you with in-kind support and maintenance.

Last Revised: Mar. 21, 2005

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