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Council on Disability says it's time to change SSI

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program for adults and children who are disabled. Like Social Security Disability Insurance, applicants must demonstrate that they have a qualifying disability. But to qualify for SSI, individuals also have to meet that they are below as certain income and asset level.

Currently, individuals are not accepted into the SSI program unless they have no more than $2,000 to their name at any time. This is a limit that has been in place since 1989, and for that reason, the National Council on Disability recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to raise the asset limit to $10,000 with increases for inflation.

The federal agency's letter said that urgent reform is needed within the SSI program in addition to an increase in the asset limit. For example, the agency asked for changes in the way SSI benefits are impacted when beneficiaries earn money from a job. The letter stated that the reform is needed to "improve beneficiary well-being and enhance the ability of SSI beneficiaries to participate in the workforce."

The letter stressed the need for immediate attention, partly due to the government sequester and other federal budget cuts, which the agency said disproportionately affects the disabled community. The suggested changes would ensure that SSI beneficiaries could save money to lessen the "impact of current and future cuts."

Additionally, the letter asked that the present and Congress change SSI protocol to make it easier for people with disabilities to keep Medicaid coverage even when their income rises or they move to a different state.

So far, the White House has not responded to the requests made in the letter. The National Council on Disability represents the interests of the nation's disabled population.

Source: Disability Scoop, "White House Urged To Raise SSI Limits," Michelle Diament, April 19, 2013

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