Social Security in the United States Announces Changes for Eligible Candidates of This Federal Program

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This year introduces some modifications in terms of eligibility for the Social Security Administration. A new final rule was recently established in the eligibility premises of income for one of the federal programs that is extremely beneficial due to the monthly financial assistance to elderly or disabled individuals.

This program is the Supplemental Security Income program, aimed at people over 65 years old, or individuals (of any age range) who are blind or have other disability conditions.

What modifications does the Supplemental Security Income establish?

The changes to be implemented in the last quarter of this year in this federal program are based on the following prerogative: “Exclude food in the calculations of in-kind support and maintenance,” meaning that food will not be counted as income when calculating eligibility for applicants.

The new modification in the Supplemental Security Income program – as stated by the director of Social Security and health care policies at The Arc – means that program beneficiaries no longer have to worry about food received from family and friends being counted as income and possibly reducing their monthly financial assistance.

What are the benefits of this new provision compared to the current one?

It’s worth clarifying that, to qualify as an eligible candidate in this program, the petitioner must have an income lower than $1,971 per month. Until now, food support is counted as an income figure or derived from work, which evidently reduces the applicant’s benefits, or affects eligibility parameters if the sum of food resources exceeds the required minimum figure.

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On the other hand, the new provision increases the benefits and aids about 7.4 million people who receive help from this program, as the financial assistance amount will increase for these citizens.

As of what date will these changes be implemented?

According to the public statement issued by the Social Security Administration, the new changes will be applied starting September 30 of this year. Therefore, during the last quarter of the year, the agency will no longer include food in the Supplemental Security Income calculations.

In this regard, Martin O’Malley – Social Security Commissioner – noted: “A vital part of our mission is to access crucial benefits. Simplifying our policies is a common-sense solution that reduces the burden on the public and agency staff while helping to promote equity by eliminating barriers to accessing payments.”

The new federal program policy removes a significant barrier in the basic eligibility criteria since many applicants receive informal food assistance from their family and community support networks, which evidently causes many to disqualify or receive less financial support.

The public statement from the entity emphasizes that this change “eliminates a significant source of burden, while reducing month-to-month variability in payment amounts helps to improve accuracy in this procedure, and the agency will see administrative savings because less time will be spent managing Supplemental Security Income food.”

Furthermore, it was also noted that the programming policy is continuously examined and analyzed to make the corresponding regulatory changes, as this change is the first of many proposed by the Social Security Administration.

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Haymé Santoya Rodríguez

Licenciada en Historia del Arte por la Universidad de Oriente. Investigadora en Casa de la Nacionalidad Cubana. Se especializa en estudios sobre artes visuales y cine cubano. Ha realizado trabajos de curaduría de arte así como conferencias, presentaciones de libros, conversatorios y disertaciones sobre su especialización. Se ha vinculado al periodismo digital desde el 2018.