The SSI Program - Personal Resources and Enforced Financial Oppression
Author: Disabled World
Synopsis and Key Points:
People with disabilities on SSI are monitored from a financial perspective and treated as if they must live in poverty and viewed as a burden on society.
Main DigestThe SSI program through the Social Security Administration is one that places extreme financial limitations and hardship on people with disabilities. The program does this by placing severe limitations on the resources a person with disabilities can have, creating a situation that can only be compared to financial oppression. Due to the resource limitations associated with the SSI program, people with disabilities are required to consistently report a number of types of resources on a consistent basis to the Social Security Administration.
Supplemental Security Income - The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. People who have worked long enough may also be able to receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits as well as SSI. Supplemental Security Income is a U.S. Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes) designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income, and it provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
The resources people who already face life with forms of disabilities are required to report to the Social Security Administration include cash, bank accounts, U.S. savings bonds, stocks, land, personal property, and vehicles. Resources, from the Social Security Administration's perspective, also include anything else a person with disabilities owns that might be changed to cash and used for food or shelter or otherwise deemed as a resource. The Social Security Administration also pursues what it perceives to be, 'Deemed,' resources.
'Deemed,' resources involve a portion of the resources of a parent, spouse, parent's spouse, sponsor of an alien, or sponsor's spouse as resources that belong to the person who has applied for the SSI program. The Social Security Administration refers to this as, 'deeming of resources.' If a child who is younger than 18 years old lives with one parent - $2,000 of the parent's total countable resources does not count. If the child lives with 2 parents - $3,000 does not. The Administration counts amounts over these limits as a part of the child's $2,000 resource limit.
A child has clothing, toys, a bed, shoes, perhaps a power wheelchair and maybe even a cell phone or adaptive equipment. The resource limitations described by the Social Security Administration disappear rapidly in relation to a child with disabilities. Some children with disabilities use items such as an iPad or iPhone to communicate with others.
Yet the SSI program's perspective is that the value of a person's resources is one of the factors that determine their very eligibility for SSI benefits. If the value of a person's resources is over the limit allowed by the Social Security Administration at the start of the month that person with disabilities will be denied SSI for the month. If the person with disabilities decides to sell items in an attempt to reduce the amount of resources they have they might receive SSI starting the month after they sell the items. In a show of, 'compassion,' the Social Security Administration states a person with disabilities might be able to receive SSI while they try to sell items in order to reduce their resources and become further impoverished - but only in some circumstances.
Where adults with disabilities are concerned the countable resource are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. The Social Security Administration does not count certain resources, two of which involve burial, in relation to adults with disabilities. The resources the Administration does not count include:
- Household goods and personal effects
- The home the person lives in and the land it is on
- Burial spaces for the person and their immediate family
- Life insurance policies, if they have a combined value of $1,500 or less
- Burial funds for the person or their spouse, if they are valued at $1,500 or less
- One vehicle if it is used for transportation of the person or a household member
- Retroactive SSI or Social Security benefits for up to nine months after the person receives them
- Scholarships, grants, fellowships, or gifts set aside to pay for educational expenses for nine months after receipt
Basically, the SSI program states that you can still live in your home and have a car. You can't have much in the way of insurance, burial anything, and you can still attempt to get an education maybe. You can keep your household cleaners, makeup, and aftershave. What about retroactive SSI or Social Security benefits
The Social Security Administration and, 'Installments'
When a person with disabilities is eligible to receive past-due SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration has to reimburse the State the person lives in first if they received any monetary Interim Assistance while awaiting a decision. If there are any remaining past due benefits that are large (try not to laugh), the Social Security Administration has to pay them in installments. The installment payments are made in no more than three payments - at six-month intervals.
One exception allows the first and second payment to be increased, but only because of certain debts. Two other exceptions exist - one of these exceptions is if the person is expected to die within a year. The other is if the person becomes ineligible for SSI and is likely to remain ineligible for a year.
The Social Security Administration does not count other types of resources for people with disabilities on the SSI program. Some examples include property that is essential to self-support, resources a blind or disabled person needs for an approved plan for achieving self-support (PASS), or money saved in an Individual Development Account (IDA). Other resources the SSI program does not count include:
- Some trusts
- Disaster relief assistance
- Health flexible spending arrangements
- Dedicated accounts for blind or disabled children
- Crime victim's assistance (not counted for nine months)
- Support and maintenance assistance and home energy assistance
- Earned income tax credit payments (not counted for nine months)
- State or local relocation assistance payments (not counted for a year)
- Federal tax refunds and advanced tax credits (not counted for a year)
- Cash received for medical or social services (not counted for one month)
- The first $2,000 of compensation received in a calendar year for participating in certain clinical trials
- Scholarships, grants, fellowships, or gifts used for tuition and educational expenses (not counted for nine months)
- Cash received for the purpose of replacing an excluded resource that is lost, damaged, or stolen (not counted for nine months)
Ask your local political representative if they are willing to live under these resource limitations. Then ask yourself why people with disabilities are subject to continuing review of their social status due to medical conditions that are often times no fault of their own. While you are dazed by the prejudicial treatment of people with disabilities in America, ask yourself why the employers of this nation continue to shun people with disabilities who are many times just as qualified for positions as non-disabled persons in this nation.
The Enforcement of Poverty
People with disabilities who attempt to sell property or other resources that put them over the SSI program's resource limitation might be able to receive SSI while they do so... however; when they sell something considered to be a resource - they have to pay back the SSI benefits they received for the period in which they were attempting to sell the property or other resource. The Social Security Administration calls this, 'conditional benefits.' A person with disabilities has to sign a, 'conditional benefits agreement,' form and the Social Security Administration must accept that agreement before conditional payments can start. If a person with a disability, their spouse, or a co-owner gives away a resource, or sells it for less than it is worth, they may become ineligible for SSI benefits for up to 36 months. How long they remain ineligible depends upon the value of the resource they transferred.
In short - people who already face life with forms of disabilities who are on the SSI program are not allowed to do with their own property what they want to. They are not allowed to own anything beyond what the Social Security Administration's resource limitation dictates. People with disabilities on the SSI program are monitored from a financial perspective continually, treated as if they must live in poverty and viewed as if they are a burden on society.
Citations and Resources:
Obama's proposal hurts people with disabilities
The average monthly SSI payment is $520, which is a meager $6,240 a year. For more than 57 per cent of those receiving SSI, this is their only source of income.
2013 Red Book
Summary Guide to Employment Supports for Persons With Disabilities under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs
National Disability Institute Champions Reintroduction of ABLE Act in Congress as Vital Step Toward Economic Advancement for People With Disabilities
National Disability Institute joins several other disability organizations in supporting the reintroduction of the ABLE Act, including the National Down Syndrome Society, The ARC and Autism Speaks.
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