Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hasn’t changed very much since it’s initial inception nearly half a century ago. For the last 30 years especially, stagnant asset and income limits have created huge eligibility issues that have resulted in millions of Americans being left without the assistance they deserve – or worse, in the position to have their existing benefits taken away. Many SSI recipients are even living below the federal poverty line off of less than $600 per month. The SSI Restoration Act, however, aims to change all of this, and bring dignity back to those that have suffered enough, and have no other option but to seek federal assistance to survive. In fact, the hope is that these proposed changes will help bring more than three million people out of poverty, and reduce poverty rates among SSI recipients by over 50%.
Proposed SSI Changes
As part of the Build Back Better Act reconciliation bill, the SSI Restoration Act will restore the original intent of the program by updating outdated rules and modernizing a number of financial eligibility rules. In addition, the SSI Restoration Act seeks to help fight poverty with changes centered around increasing the earning capacity of existing beneficiaries, and creating more eligibility exceptions for married couples, applicants with standing earning capacities, and claimants that receive frequent financial gifts from loved ones. In particular, the SSI Restoration Act is posed to:
- Raise current SSI benefits for individuals (which are currently limited to only $794 per month) to “100% of the federal poverty level – a 31% increase – and index them to inflation.”
- Raise current SSI benefits for married couples (which are currently limited to only $1,191 per month) to “double the individual rate.”
- Increase and index asset limits for individuals and couples for the first time in over 30 years from the current figures, $2,000 and $3,000, to $10,000 and $20,000.
- Update and index a new policy that will allow SSI recipients to be employed and earn up to $399 per month, as well as collect up to $123 per month in pension payments and other assistance programs, without having to worry about suffering any benefit cutbacks.
- Create policies dedicated to celebrating and rewarding beneficiaries that are interested in earning additional income outside of their SSI benefits.
- Do away with penalizing individuals and families with benefits reductions for receiving outside help, including financial help, from immediate family and friends.
Want to learn more about how the newly proposed SSI Restoration Act is likely to impact your life specifically? Feel free to reach out to our esteemed Social Security disability and SSI attorneys at Aiello Law Group to begin the discussion today. Call us, today, at 313.964.4900 or fill out the form in the sidebar or on our contact page, and learn more about how we can help you.