Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, authorized by Title XVI of the
Social Security Act, is a means-tested income assistance program financed
from general tax revenues. Under SSI, disabled, blind, or aged individuals
who have low incomes and limited resources are eligible for benefits
regardless of their work histories. In December 2012, more than 8.2 million
individuals received SSI benefits, receiving monthly payments of $519.44
on average. The SSI program paid out almost $4.6 billion in federally
administered benefits that month. All but six states and the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands supplement the federal SSI benefit with additional
payments, which may be made directly by the state or combined with the federal payment.
As a means tested program, SSI places a limit on the assets or resources of its
beneficiaries. However, there are four types of accounts that represent an
important part of the overall SSI program and can be used by SSI
beneficiaries to build assets or plan for the future, including (1) money
placed into burial accounts, (2) money used as part of a Plan for Achieving
Self-Support (PASS), (3) money placed in Individual Development Accounts
(IDAs), and (4) money placed in dedicated accounts for children. For the
purposes of determining SSI eligibility these accounts are not counted as
resources and can be used by beneficiaries without affecting their eligibility.
This report provides an overview of income and resource limits for SSI benefit
determinations as well as the four types of accounts exempt from the SSI
resource limitations. This report will be updated to reflect any changes
in this legislation or other relevant legislative activity.
Date of Report: January 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 8 Order Number: RS20294 Price: $19.95
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