Q: What changes are proposed by the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act?
Most people know that changes to government programs rarely happen quickly and often offer only minor incremental financial increases, if any. This is evident in minimum wage hikes and cost of living increases over the years.
But a new proposed law has Arizona disability benefits attorneys cautiously optimistic that big change could be coming to the Supplemental Security Income program, known as “SSI”.
SSI is one of two federal disability benefits programs administered by the Social Security Administration. The other program, Social Security Disability Insurance “SSDI” requires that applicants satisfy the prior “work credits” history, having been employed and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes withheld over a certain amount of years prior to becoming disabled.
Applying for SSI benefits has no such work history requirement, but rather it is a “means-tested” program for those who are disabled, blind, or over the age of 65 who have extremely limited financial resources. Both programs require applicants to meet the government’s definition of “disabled”.
Proposed changes to the SSI program
There hasn’t been much change to the SSI program since the 1970s. Currently, applicants must have income and resources which fall below the government-mandated threshold of $2000 for an individual or $3000 for a married couple. While $2000 may have been considered a reasonable nest egg decades ago, it’s far from the case today due to inflation.
Fortunately, the House of Representatives apparently noticed and is attempting to rectify the woefully low income and asset limits by reportedly proposing the following amendments to the Supplemental Security Income program:
- increasing the $2000 ceiling for individuals to $10,000 (a 5x increase);
- increasing the $3000 ceiling for married couples to $20,000 (a nearly 7x increase);
- repealing penalties for marrying;
- repealing penalties for receiving “financial, food and housing assistance from family members”;
- increasing the amount of “disregarded income the beneficiaries can take in each month”.
The benefits of this proposed and sorely needed legislation known as the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act, or H.R. 4280, will help parents of disabled children transition them into adulthood, will ease the financial limitation problem for those applying for or trying to retain SSI benefits, and will remove the obstacle to marriage.
Contact our Arizona disability benefits attorney
If you need help applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing the denial of benefits, the Disability Attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Tempe, Phoenix, and Tucson, we help disabled individuals and their families throughout Arizona in all aspects of disability law.