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Social Security Finalizes Rule Expanding Access To SSI

Social Security Finalizes Rule Expanding Access To SSI

The Social Security Administration is making several changes to the Supplemental Security Income program, which will take effect in September. (Disability Scoop)

Under a new rule, more people will soon qualify for Supplemental Security Income and some current beneficiaries will see their monthly payments increase, the Social Security Administration said.

The changes will come under a regulation finalized recently broadening what counts as a “public assistance household.”

The agency is expanding the definition to include households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, payments as well as households where not everyone receives public assistance.

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Starting Sept. 30, a public assistance household will be considered one with an applicant or recipient of SSI and at least one other person receiving means-tested public income-maintenance payments. Previously, everyone in the household had to be receiving public assistance to count.

In cases where a person lives in a public assistance household, the Social Security Administration assumes that they are not receiving assistance from other household members that could be counted as income.

In addition to increasing eligibility and payment amounts for some, the rule is expected to lessen the reporting burden experienced by individuals living in public assistance households.

The Social Security Administration said it estimates that the rule change will lead to an additional 109,000 individuals receiving SSI and increased monthly payments for roughly 277,000 beneficiaries by 2033.

“I’m committed to making systemic changes to help people access the critical benefits they need, including SSI,” said Martin O’Malley, commissioner of Social Security. “By simplifying our policies and including an additional program geared towards low-income families, such as the SNAP, we are removing significant barriers to accessing SSI. These changes promote greater equity in our programs.”

The rule is one of several updates to SSI that are set to take effect in September. The Social Security Administration said that it will also change the way it handles “in-kind support and maintenance” in the form of a rental subsidy and it will stop counting food as part of in-kind support and maintenance.

Roughly 7.5 million Americans, including many with disabilities, receive SSI each month. The program currently offers a maximum federal benefit of $943 for individuals and $1,415 for couples.

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