SENATORS PROPOSE TO RAISE THE SSI ASSET LIMITATIONS
IT IS TIME TO RAISE THE SSI ASSET LIMITATIONS
For years, the SSI asset limitations have kept people with disabilities in poverty. SSI or Supplemental Security Income is a benefit for those who have a disability that keeps them from working. However, in order to receive it you must have a disability and meet the SSA’s income and asset restrictions. Currently, individuals receiving SSI cannot have more than $2,000 in a bank account. The figure is currently $3,000 for couples who are married. These amounts have been the same since 1989. The attorneys at Cannon Disability Law believe these figures must change.
Imagine how difficult it is to save any money for an emergency or for your children’s future, if all you could have in the bank was $2000. If you do manage to save more money, it eliminates your ability to receive SSI benefits and Medicaid. This kind of financial limitation is punitive to those who receive SSI. Especially since the limit on savings has been the same for 30 years.
THE SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME RESTORATION ACT
The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act, or S. 2753, would raise the cap to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for couples. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is the bill’s chief Senate sponsor. He calls the existing limits “arbitrary and out-of-date.” He also believes the limits “punish people who want to earn a little extra money to provide for themselves and their families.” “That’s why I’m introducing legislation to update the law,” Brown said. Co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.. Other sponsors are Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Robert Casey, D-Pa.
The legislation would increase the level of income that SSI beneficiaries can take in each month. Additionally, it removes penalties for those who are married and ensures couples receive double the benefit rate of individuals. There is a similar proposal in the House which would also repeal penalties for marrying or receiving financial, food, and housing assistance from family members.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES CANNOT LIVE ON SSI BENEFITS
Over the last 30 years, the attorneys at Cannon Disability Law, have seen SSI recipients who are afraid to marry for fear of losing their SSI benefits and Medicaid. In fact, most of our clients worry far more about losing their health insurance, through Medicaid, than their small monthly benefit amount. Currently, the monthly SSI benefit in Utah is $771. It is unlikely that the $771 per month will even pay for a one bedroom apartment in SLC, UT. According to rentjungle.com, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in SLC, UT is $1278. That is a 5.4% increase from last year. Two bedroom apartments average $1427 per month, which is a 8.69% increase from last year. Salt Lake Cities rents are one of the fastest growing in the nation.
If you factor in the cost of food, transportation, utilities, childcare, and clothing, the cost of living for a single person in SLC, UT is $800 a month, without rent. For a family of four, two parents and two children, the cost of living is $2,829, without rent. In Las Vegas, the average monthly rent amount for a one bedroom apartment in Las Vegas, NV is $1156. According to rentjungle.com, this is a 13.49% increase from last year when the average rent was $1000. A two bedroom apartment rents for $1189 per month.
SSI benefits do not begin to cover the costs of a family and with rent, they do not cover the cost of living for a single person. How does one even get an apartment without first and last months rent for a deposit? Saving for the cleaning deposit and first and last months rent would put you over the $2000 limit. Therefore, you would be ineligible for SSI benefits. This must change.
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND ASK THEM TO ADOPT THE BILL TO RAISE THE SSI ASSET CAP
Call you representatives and encourage them to adopt the bill that raises the cap on income for SSI recipients. People who have a disability do not deserve to live in poverty. They also deserve a place to live, the ability to pay for their needs, and healthcare. Cannon Disability Law supports this bill. It is time to raise the SSI asset limitations for those on SSI benefits. If you have questions or concerns about your disability benefits, contact Cannon Disability Law. For the past 30 years, we have been the best disability law firm to help you win your disability benefits. We have won over 18,000 SSD and SSI cases. We want to be your disability team. It is free to ask us questions. Contact us today.