Calculating Social Security Benefits for the LIHTC program

Written by Lois Churchill, Spectrum Enterprises

We probably all know that the gross benefit amount is to be calculated for Social Security, right? Well then, be sure that’s what you verify! Make sure the letter/verification you obtain says “the gross amount, before any deductions”. If it doesn’t they you must clarify whether or not the amount verified is gross or net.

 Frequently we see letters from Social Security that start off saying “the state will no longer pay your medicare amount, therefore starting xx/xx/xx you ‘will receive’.” The amount noted is the net benefit, not the gross. Medicare must be added but possibly more. There’s no way to know if the individual also has the new prescription coverages. Better verification has to be obtained. If the letter says “beginning xx/xx/xx the state will cover your medicare amount and you ‘will receive’…” that is the gross benefit amount.

 Here’s one I’ve only seen once – the letter says “Beginning December 2012, the regular monthly Social Security payment is…” – and it verified the net! The only thing missing in this letter were the words “before any deductions”. The only way I figured out the net amount was verified was by comparing it to something else in the file. I don’t remember the actual circumstance but I think the file presented may have been a recertification and I questioned the fact that Social Security had gone down.

 The best verification of Social Security, if you can’t get something from the agency, remains the annual award letter.


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