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Government Lifts Some SSI Eligibility Restrictions
- February 16th, 2005
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has made three rule changes that ease restrictions on receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSI is the basic federal safety net program for the elderly, blind and disabled, providing them with a minimum guaranteed income. Eligibility for SSI benefits is based on financial need alone, not on how long you have worked or how much you have paid into the Social Security system. However, the financial eligibility rules are quite stringent. If you are receiving income from another source, your SSI benefit will be cut dollar for dollar.
The SSA considers food and shelter you receive from another source to be "in-kind" income. Up till now, the SSA also considered gifts of clothing to be in-kind income -- but no longer. Under the new rules, the agency will not count gifts of clothing as income in deciding whether a person can receive SSI benefits or when computing the amount of benefits.
In addition, the SSA will no longer count household goods and personal effects as resources in deciding whether a person can receive SSI benefits. Before this change, household goods and personal effects totaling more than $2,000 were counted against SSI's resource limits and could result in ineligibility for program benefits.
Finally, the SSA is changing its rules for excluding an automobile in determining the resources of an SSI applicant or recipient. In the past, SSI placed a dollar limit on the value of an automobile that could be owned by a recipient of benefits. The agency will now exclude one automobile from consideration as a resource, no matter its value, if the vehicle is used for transportation for the beneficiary or a member of the beneficiary's household.
The regulations take effect March 9, 2005.
To read the final rules covering these changes, click here.
To read more about SSI, click here.
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Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
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