November 2023Vol. 24, No. 9Updating Supplemental Security Income Asset Limits Would Increase Family Economic Stability
A blog post from the Urban Institute synthesizes a recent and growing bipartisan, bicameral push for Congress to update the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program’s antiquated asset and income limit. That group of lawmakers introduced a bill that would make it easier for SSI recipients to save for financial emergencies without putting the benefits they rely on to live at risk.
This proposed legislation has the potential to positively affect millions of Americans, not just those individuals who are older and/or disabled for whom SSI is intended. This includes the 2.5 million children in the United States being raised by grandparents and other relatives in grandfamilies, many of whom receive or may be eligible to receive SSI benefits. The same is true for the millions of families headed by one or more parents with disabilities.
According to the blog post, more than 8 million people who are either over age 65 or are disabled and who have low incomes rely on these benefits to meet their families’ needs. However, current SSI asset limits, which were established in 1974 and were only partially adjusted for inflation in 1989 (nearly 35 years ago), penalize individuals and couples for working to grow even modest savings.
Updating outdated asset thresholds, as the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act proposes, would increase families’ economic security and dramatically reduce poverty. The following evidence-based resources from the Urban Institute support this push and are linked in the article:
- How Four Proposals to Reform Supplemental Security Income Would Reduce Poverty
- Improving the Supplemental Security Income Program for Adults With Disabilities
- A Safety Net With 100 Percent Participation: How Much Would Benefits Increase and Poverty Decline?
- The Unintended Consequences of SNAP Asset Limits
To learn more, read the post, “Supplemental Security Income Thresholds Are Out of Date; Updating Them Would Reduce Poverty,” on the institute’s blog, the Urban Wire.
Related item: The June 2023 issue of CBX features an article about the Child Welfare Information Gateway publication Separating Poverty From Neglect in Child Welfare.