Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 4 » Supplemental Security Income - Early Assistance Programs, Creation Of Ssi, Administration And Funding, Ssi Federal Benefits And Poverty

Supplemental Security Income - Ssi Federal Benefits And Poverty

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SSI was described in a 1972 U.S. Senate Finance Committee Report as ‘‘designed to provide a positive assurance that the nation’s aged, blind and disabled people would no longer have to subsist on below-poverty incomes.’’ Yet at no time in its history has the federal SSI benefit alone brought recipients up to or above the poverty threshold. The designers of the program assumed that SSI recipients would also be eligible to receive benefits from other programs, such as food stamps, Social Security, and Medicaid. They also assumed that the states would provide supplements that, together with the federal SSI benefit, would bring the total benefit package up to the poverty threshold. In 1974 the federal benefit for an individual was approximately 71 percent of the poverty threshold. That proportion has increased only slightly over the years. According to Deputy Commissioner of Social Security John Dyer, ‘‘the SSI monthly benefit rate over the years has consistently represented just 74 percent of the Federal poverty guideline for an individual [and] 82 percent of the guideline for two persons.’’

Even though SSI benefits alone have never been sufficient to bring recipients above the poverty threshold, benefits maintain their real value (purchasing power) over time. SSI benefits are adjusted every January on the basis of the annual increase in the consumer price index (CPI). This annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is extremely important because it means that federal SSI benefits, by keeping up with inflation, retain their purchasing power over time.

Supplemental Security Income - Ssi Federal Benefit Levels [next] [back] Supplemental Security Income - Administration And Funding

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