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SSI recipients would be allowed more assets under new bill

Some New York residents may know that in order to receive Supplemental Security Income, you have to meet certain asset requirements. That is, your assets -- those that are liquid or cash -- cannot exceed $2,000. This cap has been in effect since 1989, and many have been calling for a change.

As anyone can imagine, if you are not allowed to ever have more than $2,000 in liquid assets, it is nearly impossible to save money without losing your benefits. It seems counterproductive, in the least, to tell people who are already facing financial challenges that they must keep their assets below a level that would be difficult to live on without benefits. Fortunately, a few senators are seeking to change the rules.

In a new bill, multiple senators have proposed raising the asset limit for SSI recipients to $10,000. Hopefully this will allow people to start saving money -- or at least to not worry that they may accidentally exceed the asset limit.

Additionally, the senators added a provision that would allow family members and friends of an SSI recipient to assist that person by providing basic necessities like food, money and housing. Currently, that is not allowed under SSI guidelines.

Many families in New York rely on SSI benefits, but the maximum amount a recipient can receive is $721 a month -- hardly enough to support a family that may also be burdened with expensive medical bills. Discouraging these people from saving money by keeping the asset limit low only worsens the problem. Hopefully our lawmakers will consider this when debating the bill.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Senators Take Aim At SSI Asset Limits," Shaun Heasley, March 11, 2014

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