Supplemental Security Income

Background

The federal Supplemental Security IncomeThe SSI program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. (SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled.) program provides monthly cash benefits to people age 65 and older with very low income and assets, individuals who are blind, or people with disabilities. States may supplement this income. SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. eligibility often allows people to receive other important means-tested benefits. These include Medicaid and food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance ProgramSNAP is the nation’s largest domestic nutrition assistance program, providing financial assistance for the purchase of qualifying food items., formerly the Food Stamp Program.

In 2020, about 8 million people received SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits each month. Of that total, about 2.3 million were people age 65 and older. Nonetheless, many who are eligible for SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. may not be getting the benefits to which they are entitled, a situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices. The two main reasons for people not receiving benefits appear to be a lack of effective outreach and challenges with the application process.

SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits do not go far enough to keep recipients out of povertyThe federal government defines “poverty” as income below specific thresholds. These thresholds are adjusted annually for inflation and vary according to family size and the age of the head of the family.. The maximum annual federal SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefit in 2020 was only $9,396 for an individual and $14,100 for a couple. SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. is funded via general revenueRevenue that can be used for any purpose. and not through the Social Security trust funds even though SSA administers it.

Some SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. rules can create financial hardship for caregivers. For example, SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits may be reduced by one-third if a beneficiary lives in another person’s household and does not pay for all his or her food and shelter. Such assistance is considered in-kind support and maintenance.

Another threat to eligibility is the age threshold. Congress has considered legislation that would increase the age to qualify for SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits from age 65 to 67 for those who qualify under the aged category. Although some individuals between the ages of 65 and 67 might qualify for SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. on the basis of disability, many would likely be left out.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME: Policy

SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME: Policy

Benefit level

The federal Supplemental Security IncomeThe SSI program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. (SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled.) benefit level should be increased to bring beneficiaries up to the povertyThe federal government defines “poverty” as income below specific thresholds. These thresholds are adjusted annually for inflation and vary according to family size and the age of the head of the family. level. States should supplement those benefit payments.

Policymakers should modify SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. rules to support informal caregiving arrangements. The rule that reduces SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits by one-third for recipients living in someone else’s household and not paying for food or shelter should be eliminated.

Eligibility

Policymakers should not increase the age of eligibility for SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled..

Applications

Policymakers and the Social Security Administration should adopt policies and procedures to increase the proportion of eligible people, particularly those age 65 and older, who receive SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefits.

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) should allow online applications or other alternatives to apply for benefits.
  • SSA should screen for individuals age 65 and older who receive Social Security benefits that are less than the maximum SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled. benefit and notify them that they may be eligible for SSIThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to reduce poverty by providing basic cash support to people with low income and assets below certain thresholds who are aged, blind, or disabled..