SSI Policy

Protecting & Expanding a Vital Program

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a critical supplemental program to the Social Security system that provides modest financial assistance for people who are unable to work enough to meet their basic needs. Examples of older adults who may qualify for SSI include an 80-year-old low-income retired couple with unexpected medical costs who are facing homelessness, a 50-year-old person who is blind, with no savings, and a 70-year-old single woman with little to no Social Security benefits. The program is a key anti-poverty program that must be defended from cuts and also needs expansion and updating.

Below advocates will find Issue Briefs, Fact Sheets, and other resources about our efforts to protect and expand this program.

  • Rebuilding SSI
  • SSI Restoration Act of 2021
  • SSA's Representative Payee Program

The maximum federal SSI benefit in 2021 is $794 a month. Outdated rules and barriers keep the people who qualify from accessing the benefit. Congress must take action to rebuild the long-neglected SSI program in order to help older adults and people with disabilities who are currently living in poverty. Learn more using the resources below.

Letter: Letter to Senate Committee on Finance on the Policy Options that Would Improve SSI September, 2021

Letter: Letter to Congressional Leadership in Support of Including SSI Improvements in the Reconciliation Package, August, 2021

Fact Sheet: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) July, 2021

FAQ: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) July, 2021

The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2021 would update numerous details of the program to better reflect reasonable assistance in today’s dollars. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Il), and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) introduced the bill in June 2021 along with House co-sponsors. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the bill in the Senate in June 2021, with co-sponsors.

Policy Issue Brief: The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2021, June 2021

List: Co-Sponsors & Endorsers, Frequently updated

The Social Security Administration's Representative Payee Program allows older adults with cognitive impairments to designate another person to manage their benefits and finances, but the program is inadequate to meet the growing need, and current payees don’t have adequate training resources. We’ve worked to shine a light on these problems and suggested measures the SSA could implement to make the program work better.

Issue Brief: Skilled Nursing Facilities and Other Creditors Acting as Representative Payees, January 2018

Issue Brief: How SSA Can Improve the Representative Payee Program to Protect Seniors, June 2016

Fact Sheet: The Social Security Administration's Representative Payee Program: The Basics, January 2016

Fact Sheet: What is a Social Security Representative Payee and How are they Chosen? March 2016

Fact Sheet: Ways to Meet the Growing Need for Representative Payees, April 2016

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