Under current regulations, only those who have $2,000 or less in assets qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits. That requirement has been in place for 24 years without being adjusted, even for inflation. As such, many Pittsburgh residents who are living with a disability may not qualify for this program, despite being financially distressed.
The National Council on Disability recently urged the federal government to make updates to the program, which has changed very little in the last two decades. Among the suggestions is a call to raise the asset requirement to $10,000 and tie it to inflation. This would allow many people with ongoing financial concerns to apply for assistance that can help them cover basic needs.
Generally speaking, poverty is prevalent among those who receive SSI benefits. Since this program is designed to help those with the most financial need, making changes would allow it to meet the demands of modern financial realities and provide a greater sense of security those who need it most.
One other critical suggestion for SSI reform is that the administrators would provide more flexibility for employment. This is another change that would allow beneficiaries to become more active in their communities while still providing a financial safety net and accounting for the difficulties associated with a serious injury or medical condition.
As of yet, the Obama Administration hasn't responded to the National Council on Disability's proposal.
Understanding the income and work requirements for SSI and Social Security disability insurance can be confusing without the right advice. By understanding all available options in terms of disability benefits, it can be possible for those living with a disability to obtain the support necessary to live comfortably.
Source: Disability Scoop, "White House Urged To Raise SSI Limits," Michelle Diament, April 19, 2013
Our firm has experience helping Pittsburgh residents obtain disability benefits. To find out more, please visit our Pennsylvania SSDI and SSI page.