Deductions From Social Security Benefits – Do They Count As “Income?”

Kegler Brown Housing Newsletter

In a recent case, a PHA tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent. The tenant argued that his rent was improperly calculated, even though it was calculated solely on the basis of his two sources of income - social security disability benefits and supplemental security income. The tenant's argument – ingenious, but ultimately wrong - was that his full social security benefit should not be counted as income because the Social Security Administration withheld a portion of the payment for court-ordered child support payments. The tenant argued that since he never received the withheld portion, it should not count as his income. The Ohio court of appeals disagreed, holding that the tenant constructively "received" the withheld amount, which was garnished to pay his child support obligations. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority v. Edwards, 174 Ohio App. 3d 174 (Ham. Co. 2007).