SSA Proposes New Legislation

CW: Poverty

The Social Security Administration uses specific criteria to compute Supplemental Security Income benefits for people living in specified states. The agency is now considering changing its guidelines to streamline nationwide benefits.

The federal government is proposing a new rule to change how it adjusts benefit payments for people who receive “in-kind support and maintenance,” which includes reduced rent.

SSI payments are already decreased if a person pays rent or shelter expenditures less than the current market value or what they would pay on the free market. This is crucial when a person with a disability rents from a family member, for example, who charges a lower fee.

However, the agency uses less stringent criteria in seven states: Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Texas. In these states, benefits are not lowered if a person spends more than a third of their income on housing, even if their rent is less than the current market value. The new rule, published in the Federal Register this month, seeks to extend the more lenient criteria already in effect in seven states to the entire country.

The Social Security Administration estimates that the rule change would raise monthly payments for approximately 41,000 current SSI participants by an average of $128 monthly. Further, around 14,000 people who do not now get SSI could qualify.

Disability benefits need to provide a livable income for the millions of people who rely on them worldwide. Nobody who needs this support should be worrying about being able to afford everything they need to live.

Diament, Michelle. “Social Security Proposes Update to SSI Calculation.” Disability Scoop, Disability Scoop, 29 Aug. 2023,

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