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Honored Social Butterfly

The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act & The ASSET Act

Once again (06/1/2021) The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act has been introduced in the House and the Senate.  The link is from Senator Sherrod Brown's (S. Ohio) press release on his Senate website.

 

An often-forgotten part of America's Social Security system, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is a federal program that provides vital income assistance to nearly 8 million elderly and disabled Americans with low-incomes and limited resources, including over 1 million disabled children. 

 

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) does NOT come out of the Social Security program.  It comes out of the General Fund as part of our social safety network programs.  The Social Security Administration only runs the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

 

From the link:

The SSI Restoration Act would:

  • Raise SSI's sub-poverty-level monthly benefits, currently $794 per month, to 100% of the federal poverty level--a 31% increase--and index them to inflation;
  • Update and index the assets individuals or couples may have up to $10,000 and $20,000, respectively. The current limit of $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple has not been updated since 1989;
  • Update and index SSI's income rules -- which have never been updated since the program was signed into law in 1972. These reforms will allow individuals to earn up to $399 a month from working, and up to $123 a month in assistance from other sources: including Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and pension payments without being subject to a benefit reduction.
  • These reforms will reward, not penalize, SSI recipients who want to earn additional income to provide for themselves and their families;
  • Eliminate the marriage penalty and increase the benefit for married couples to double the individual rate, to put marriage equality within reach for SSI beneficiaries; and
  • Eliminate benefit reductions that penalize beneficiaries who receive in-kind help from friends or family, such as groceries or a place to stay.

. . . . Right now, eligible individuals may receive a maximum benefit of $794 ($1,157 for couples) per month. The average current monthly benefit is $585 for individuals. For approximately 60% of recipients, SSI is their only source of income.

 

A little earlier, (05/21/2021) The ASSET Act was introduced in the House and the Senate.  It attempts to remove counterproductive limitations in safety-net programs, helping low-income individuals save for the future and build financial security.  Allowing Steady Savings by Eliminating Tests, (ASSET Act ) to eliminate asset limitations that restrict eligibility for three vital public assistance programs and raise the asset limitation for a fourth program.

 

  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program,
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
  • The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • and raises the asset limit in The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program

These programs attempt to help low-income families, particularly those with children, meet basic needs like food and heating.

 

Currently, federal law gives states flexibility in determining eligibility for benefits on the basis of not only income, but also the assets of a family, such as a savings account and vehicle ownership. Asset limits for savings are outdated and often set as low as $1,000 or $2,000, limiting a family’s preparedness for a medical emergency or unanticipated expense. Some states have recognized this flawed public policy and have chosen to eliminate asset limitations on these programs. The ASSET Act would establish a consistent policy across the country, which would encourage household savings, increase financial security of families, and reduce administrative costs for states.

 

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program reduces extreme poverty among the elderly and people with disabilities. While asset limits are part of the SSI program design, limits have not been raised or even adjusted for inflation since 1989. The ASSET Act raises SSI asset limits from $2,000 to $10,000 for an individual and $3,000 to $20,000 for a couple, and indexes those thresholds to inflation.

 

The 2nd link is from Senator Chris Coon (S. DE) press release on his Senate website.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Gold Conversationalist

@GailL1 

 

Great information.

 

I don't think I was really aware of what SSI is specifically, until I started reading the Reddit forum on Social Security...probably 60% or more of posts there are about SSI rather than Social Security. It was a surprise to me to learn that this program has been around for roughly 50 years!

 

In researching for a reply I made to another thread in this forum I came across one site that discussed the huge growth in SSI recipients over those 50 years. It was surprising the large growth in the program and the growth in percentages of the type of recipients: more seniors in the beginning, now tilting towards younger people with some sort of disability.

 

Reading the Reddit forum, life on SSI is not great. Sounds very hard. No "welfare queens" there.

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