Under a new bill proposed in the U.S. Senate, the amount of money that Supplemental Security Income recipients could save without losing access to their benefits would rise for the first time in over two decades.
Currently, individuals who receive SSI can have no more than $2,000 in cash or liquid assets at any given time without forfeiting their eligibility for benefits.
The legislation, introduced late last week, calls for that asset limit to increase to $10,000.
The bill would also eliminate restrictions that currently disallow friends and family from providing financial, food and housing support to those receiving SSI and the measure would boost the amount of income beneficiaries could earn without losing out on benefits.
“SSI is a critical program that helps millions of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens keep their heads above water,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who proposed the bill along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Warren said the legislation would “help strengthen SSI for families who rely on these essential benefits.”
More than 8 million Americans — including many with disabilities — draw on SSI. Currently, the maximum federal benefit for an individual receiving SSI is $721 per month, though many states tack on additional funding for their residents meaning that actual payments can be somewhat higher.
The last time the asset cap for SSI recipients was increased was in 1989, the senators said.
A similar measure was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.