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Senators Take Aim At SSI Asset Limits

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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.

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Comments (21 Responses)

  1. marie camp says:

    I think this is a great idea and I hope it will pass. My son is 33 and is autistic and non verbal and this extra money would be very useful if something happened to me. The limit now doesn’t barely cover his everyday living needs, this bill can make me feel a little at ease.

  2. David Snow says:

    These two senators are awesome. Somehow I can’t imagine that John Boehner will allow this to come to a vote in the House, unfortunately. I hope that I am wrong!

  3. Rosella A. Alm-Ahearn says:

    Although I am conservator for my son, I realize that there are many people with disabilities that don’t need this kind of help. I wish The number of the bill proposed in both the House and Senate had been published in this article in order that we who read it could b more specific in requesting our representatives support for them. It is absolutely great for this bill to be proposed, and I sincerely hope that it passes!

  4. Jessica says:

    This could change the future for my son ,daughter, and myself. My daughter has been on SSI since birth due to her Down Syndrome, I have been on SSI for three years now do to a traumatic brain Injury and emergency brain surgery resulting in MANY current issues. Having the ability to put away money to purchase a car for my son as he nears the age or to send my children to school, being able to save to take them on vacations like they see their friends doing. Planning ahead for christmas, birthdays, or trips to childrens hospital when the need arises. This is a blessing..we are not talking about asking for more than our share. We are asking for the oppertunity to give our families..ourselves…the american dream.

  5. PATRICIA POLIZZI says:

    It would be helpful to include the Senate bill number. This legislation is essential to remove the built SSI disincentives to work that keep PWDs in poverty. We must push and join together to get the public and disability advocates support for the passage of this legislation. The ABLE ACT DESERVES ATTENTION.

  6. PATRICIA POLIZZI says:

    Is this bill the or different legislation than the ABLE ACT?

  7. KC Mom says:

    They need to adjust it for inflation. Also, the Medicaid limit is only $999.99, so that needs to be the same as SSI. It is confusing that they are different.

  8. Fang Huang says:

    The new bill should also increase separately car value for the low income and people with disabilities who receive SSI because used car under $4,000. with too many problems and is unsafe to drive. The repair of it is more than the value of the car. For public safety and expensive labor, the bill should amend.

  9. Michelle Dooley says:

    I hope this comes into law soon. Trust are expensive to set up. I do worry about my son after I will be gone. I want something there that can help him.

  10. John Bowman says:

    This bill will help many people. Raising the limits to $10,000 and other provisions are a step forward.

    I have represented hundreds of folks that receive SSI (after a favorable decision) and they seem to always have to fight a second “battle” because of assets or help with food, clothing or other essentials. They are good citizens and use what money SSI does pay to purchase food, pay rent, and buy essential items locally. They help the local economy even when they cannot do substantial gainful activity.

  11. Denise says:

    And what about those of us who don’t qualify for SSI but still get Medicaid assistance? Is this not the ABLE act?

  12. H says:

    I searched and I think it’s called the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2014:
    http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/2089/text

  13. Annette says:

    It is about time to update the Medicaid asset income guidelines after 20+ years. They are refusing more and more durable medical equipment yet only allow the client to have $2000 max? I hope this passes. I am so curious if all the folks who are going to move over to Medicaid funded ACA medical insurance will be held to the same income restrictions all disabled individuals have to. That may be the real reason for raising this income limit because administrative costs would skyrocket.

  14. Jack Lancellotta says:

    This is another G R E A T attempt to help and resolve the unconscionable status of our Young Disabled and Poor Elderly Citizens who literally exist on the cusps of societal poverty.

    Not having the ability to earn a living, with extreme disadvantages to navigate life & lifestyles and social affairs because of longterm illness(es) and to then penalize these fellow Americans for no fault of their own, is something we all should quickly resolve and move to correct.

    In the last two(2) Congresses, the *SSI SAVERS ACT and the A. B.L.E. (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act, were good pieces of legislation that would give a small boost of financial support (private NOT Public funds!!!) to those Disabled individuals via their family members, friends and care takers that sacrifice to assist such unfortunate circumstances everyday. However, the Congress allowed it to languish in Committee (to die off) during that time.

    *The SSI SAVERS ACT would also bump up the resource level, provide an educational component and allow a small and necessary retirement funs through personal funding.

    ** The A.B.L.E. Act is like the College 529 Fund that provides a personal/private funding account for necessary expenses, which will be tracked via IRS and SSA. It has a ‘pay-back’ provision that should at least be a 50/50% split.

    Let’s stop this foolish wrangling with necessary action, especially when it comes to allow our fellow Disabled, Sick and Struggling American Citizens the opportunity to hold some basic assets, a minimum amount of their own acquired disposable income and provide them the dignity and respect they so deserve, require and desire. Let’s have Congress pass legislation to help our SSI Disabled Citizens.

    Many Thanks and please write your Congressperson and Senator to co-sponsor and support Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2014.

    May The Blessings of Saints Patrick & Joseph Days Reap Its Magic On You!

    Jack Lancellotta, Ex. Director

    JCS Education & Library Foundation

  15. Donald M. Fitch says:

    It’s about time! While the asset cap needs to be raised & in kind gifts deemed income needs to be eliminated, the number one hurdle for SSI Recipients is SSAs deduction of 1/2 of gross earnings over $85/mo. When you add in the 30% increase in HUDs rent subsidy, reduction in food stamps, travel, taxes, clothing,etc it doesn’t pay to return to work. Do the math

  16. Margaret Cabral says:

    How about raising the SSI Monthly Check to $1,500.00 Nationwide for individuals not living in a nursing home, That would empty a lot of nursing homes if the disabled could afford to rent a basic apartment or afford to buy a accessible van for a wheelchair. That would be far more helpfull and include the $10,000.00 Asset limit for SSI and Medicaid. This is what the disabled community should be fighting for SSI checks people could live on in poverty, still would be poverty. $721.00 is homelessness for many or a nursing home at a far higher cost then a lousy $1,500. a month.

  17. Dan M says:

    With the elimination of dental and eye current limits make it impossible to save for needed medical care.

  18. Betsey Heisler says:

    please let us know if this passes!

  19. Christine says:

    I feel the asset limit needs to go up there are states like Ohio Missouri and new Hampshire that has it at 1000 and 1500 for Medicaid asset limit for aged blind and disabled and since we focus is people with disabilities going for jobs they need to make sure that people with disabilities can be staying on Medicaid because homing community-based waivers are not covered on private insurance
    One thing is that 209B states can make it tougher for eligibility then being a state following the federal government guidelines we feel it needs to be where Allstate have to follow the same guy by no exception

    I want to see this asset limit get up so everyone feel protected

  20. singlemomof2 says:

    My son is autistic because I only get paid twice a month I still qualify for ssi limits. BUT NOT NOW we are hitting August and I am going to be paid 3 times they taking away the ssi??? Its not I made every month that amount of money plus I am at 17k of what I have made so far this year. This people expect us to live where?When every pay stub is just 778.00 twice a month plus the rent to live in a decent place is above 1,000 for 3 people and pay the rest for food, transportation, clothing, and household bills. This is just ridiculous about 2k limit. I hope something gets done this is not right!!!

  21. Greg says:

    There shouldn’t be asset limits at all.

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