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Budget proposal could mean changes to SSI

What does Supplemental Security Income mean to you? For many New Yorkers, it means they can put food on the table and pay for their prescriptions. Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that provides compensation to individuals who have been severely injured or are disabled to the point that working is not an option. It is a needs-based program, and many people rely heavily or completely on the compensation they receive to make ends meet. If you asked these people what would happen if the government decided to start giving them less, it's likely many would worry that it would be impossible to get by.

Unfortunately, it seems that some New Yorkers may be forced to live on less if the president's supposed plan for "chained CPI" goes through in his budget proposal. Currently, SSI benefits increase each year in accordance with inflation. Chained CPI would reduce those increases. So what, exactly, are lawmakers thinking?

According to an article in Disability Scoop, lawmakers are under the impression that recipients of SSI should be able to make up for the cuts to benefits by simply budgeting more carefully. For some, however, budgeting tighter is impossible.

Although the decrease in benefits would start out small in the first year with a 0.3 percent drop in inflation adjustment, some say that because the cuts are cumulative, they'll add up in the long run. One policy advocate said that 30 years down the road, the cuts could add up to an entire month of benefits.

If SSI benefits are in fact slated to decrease, there may still be options for New York residents. An attorney can help an individual research their particular needs to see if there is a way to obtain greater compensation.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Advocates Alarmed By Proposal To Tweak SSI," Michelle Diament, April 9, 2013

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