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1989 was a long time ago; time to raise SSI asset limits

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2013 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) helps people with low incomes who are disabled, blind or older than 65. The program helps those with limited resources to make ends meet. Unfortunately, one element of the program that has not kept pace with the times or inflation is the asset limits. If you have more than $2,000 in assets, your SSI benefit payment can be cut off.

The problem is inflation. When the asset limit was set in 1989, it may have been reasonable. However, the following two-plus decades of inflation have reduced the value of that $2,000. Now, it is only worth little more than $1,000, and given the needs of many of those on the SSI program, is simply no longer a reasonable figure.

Those on SSI typically have very low income and risking the loss of a month or two of SSI benefits can be very stressful. If you work and have regular income, it is possible that a deposit of your paycheck could push a checking account over the $2,000 limit. You may have written a check and subtracted the amount from your account, but if it is not cashed before a deposit is made, you could exceed the limit.

This timing issue could cost you your SSI benefit. The National Council on Disability has sent a letter to President Obama, asking for updates to the SSI program. They would like to see the $2,000 limit increased to $10,000, changes in how income from work affects the benefit payment and allow the disabled to retain their Medicaid coverage if their income increases.

These changes are overdue and we urge the White House to make these changes.

Source: Disability Scoop, “White House Urged To Raise SSI Limits,” Michelle Diament, April 19, 2013