Supplemental Security Income

Senators Brown and Warren

NSCLC leads an effort to update the SSI program. The Supplemental Security Income Act,  which was introduced in the Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  in March 2014, would make needed fixes (H.R. 1601/S. 2089). Some 70 organizations have endorsed the bill.

Over eight million Americans, all of them at least age 65 or unable to work because of severe disabilities, rely on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for their survival.

The 2014 federal benefit rate is $721 per month for individuals (and $1,082 for couples). Many states supplement this and provide Medicaid benefits to recipients.  However, a SSI recipient cannot have more than $2,000 in resources ($3,000 for couples). And, in most states, someone must have less than $730 in monthly income in order to be eligible. SSI benefits can be reduced if someone receives in-kind support and maintenance such as food and/or housing, even from a family member.

Today, older adults who rely on SSI for their income security are deeper in poverty than when the program started. NSCLC supports efforts that would restore the SSI program so that it can — as President Nixon said the day he signed SSI into law — “mean a big step out of poverty and toward a life of dignity and independence.”

Read the story of Reneto Wilkins in NSCLC Helps who lost his SSI benefits when his savings exceeded the resource limit and was assessed $18,000 in overpayments for the months that it did.