Dear Addy: SSI Eligibility

Dear Addy,

I receive disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and, through SSI, qualify for Medicaid. I am concerned about hidden pitfalls that might cause me to lose eligibility for both programs. What do I need to watch out for?


Dear Worried,

Unfortunately, you are right to be concerned about hidden pitfalls. Eligibility for SSI is subject to very strict (and outdated) asset limits – the most restrictive of any federal program. Under current law, individuals with assets over $2000 (and couples with assets over $3000) lose eligibility for SSI.* The consequences of going over those limits by even a little bit are severe: because of SSI’s linkage to Medicaid, suspension or termination of SSI benefits can end beneficiaries’ coverage and access to care. Gaps in treatment or coverage threaten the health and well-being of people who live with bleeding disorders or other serious conditions.

HFA in 2023 has joined multiple other organizations in urging Congress to address these threats by increasing the decades’-old SSI asset limits. The bipartisan SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act (S. 2767 and H.R. 5408) would increase the SSI asset limits to $10,000/individual or $20,000/couple, and would then annually update the asset limits for inflation. This reform would bring the asset limits up to where they would have been had they grown along with the cost of living over the past five decades. Passing this legislation will increase beneficiaries’ ability to save for basic needs, while reducing administrative burdens and payment errors for the entire SSI program. Importantly for people with bleeding disorders, raising the asset limits will help protect against catastrophic loss of coverage.

*A car and home are excluded from the total that counts toward the asset limits.

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