SSI Changes – Social Security announces more benefits for seniors in September

Amelia Ross
5 Min Read

Starting September 30th, millions of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will benefit from new changes to the program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) aims to make it easier for more people to qualify and receive these benefits.

If you are already a recipient or planning to apply, it’s important to understand how these changes might impact you. Let’s dive into the new SSI rules and what they mean for current and future beneficiaries.

New SSI Benefits for Seniors

Overview of the Changes

The Social Security Administration is introducing significant updates to the SSI program. One major change is the prohibition of payment reductions for certain beneficiaries receiving food assistance. Typically, SSI recipients include individuals who are blind, disabled, or aged 65 and older with limited resources. Around 7.4 million Americans rely on SSI to supplement their income alongside Social Security.

Starting September 30, food assistance will no longer count as in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) when determining eligibility for SSI benefits. Currently, help with food or housing can be seen as unearned income, which may lower SSI payments or affect eligibility.

Updated Eligibility and Benefits

For 2024, the maximum monthly federal SSI benefits are as follows:

  • Individuals: $943
  • Couples: $1,415
  • Significant Others: $472

SSI recipients must generally earn less than $1,971 per month from work to qualify. Additionally, individuals or couples must have resources below $2,000 and $3,000, respectively. These resources include assets like cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, and bank accounts that can be converted to cash.

Impact on Seniors

With the new rule, seniors and other SSI recipients won’t see their benefits reduced due to receiving groceries or meals from friends or family. Darcy Milburn, Director of Social Security and Health Policy at The Arc, emphasized that this change will free up SSA resources. Previously, the SSA had to record each instance of free food, which could reduce a beneficiary’s monthly income by up to one-third.

This change aims to remove barriers and simplify the SSI program, representing a significant step forward for disabled SSI recipients in the U.S.

Relief Amid Inflation

Addressing Food Insecurity

The new rule comes at a crucial time, as inflation continues to drive up food and grocery prices. Thomas Foley, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute, highlighted that SSI recipients are among the most food-insecure groups in the U.S. The rule change could lead to fewer overpayments and underpayments, enhancing the financial security of beneficiaries.

Potential Future Changes

A new bipartisan initiative is in the works to further improve the SSI program. This initiative seeks to increase the asset limits for SSI recipients to $10,000 for individuals (up from $2,000) and $20,000 for married couples (up from $3,000). If implemented, these changes could allow Congress to make even more substantial updates to SSI.

The upcoming changes to the SSI program are set to make a positive impact on millions of Americans. By removing the consideration of food assistance as in-kind support, the SSA is helping to ensure that SSI recipients can maintain their benefits without worrying about reductions due to groceries or meals from loved ones. This change, along with potential future updates, aims to provide greater financial stability and security for those who rely on SSI.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is SSI?

SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals who are blind, disabled, or aged 65 and older with limited resources.

2. When do the new SSI changes take effect?

The new SSI changes will take effect on September 30th.

3. How will the new rule affect SSI benefits?

The new rule will prohibit payment reductions for beneficiaries receiving food assistance, meaning food will no longer count as in-kind support and maintenance.

4. What are the new maximum monthly federal SSI benefits for 2024?

For 2024, the maximum monthly federal SSI benefits are $943 for individuals, $1,415 for couples, and $472 for significant others.

5. Are there any other potential changes to SSI in the future?

Yes, there is a bipartisan initiative to increase the asset limits for SSI recipients, which could lead to more significant changes to the program.

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