Disabled Oregon residents who aren’t eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance program could see their financial situations improved by a new bipartisan piece of federal legislation known as the SSI Savers Act.
In essence, the proposed law seeks to update the Supplemental Security Income program’s asset limits ($2,000 for individuals / $3,000 for married couples) that currently force people to spend down savings and sell off most of their assets before becoming eligible to receive SSI payments large enough to cover only the most basic of life’s necessities.
The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Niki Tsongas and Rep. Thomas Petri, say the proposed changes will also eliminate many of the financial disincentives that keep disabled Americans from trying to improve their economic situations, encourage savings by recipients and save taxpayer money as well.
One of the bill’s most notable provisions would allow SSI applicants and recipients under the age of 65 to exclude money in retirement accounts and education savings accounts from counting toward the program’s asset limits. In addition, applicants and recipients aged 65 and older to have retirement accounts of up to $50,000 (single) or $75,000 (couples) and still receive reduced SSI benefits instead of being cut off from benefits altogether, as would currently happen under the existing rules.
If the SSI Savers Act is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, we’ll provide an update here and take a closer look at its provisions. In the meantime, Oregon residents who would like to see the Supplemental Security Income program’s asset limits changed should contact the offices of their legislators.
Source: PBN.com, “SSI Savers Act & The Disabled Citizen | Initiative,” July 23, 2012