Important SSI Changes that You Should Know

The Social Security Administration recently revised its rules addressing how pandemic-related financial assistance can end up impacting a person’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income or monthly Social Security Income benefits. The Social Security Administration once counted various types of assistance as income and resources for social security income purposes, which led to individuals having their social security income benefits reduced or suspended. Sometimes, social security benefits were outright denied. 


A Change to What the Agency Counts as Assistance


Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration has decided to not count many types of pandemic-related assistance against either Supplemental Security Income eligibility or benefit amounts. Some types of assistance that are now excluded include economic impact payments, state stimulus payments, unemployment assistance, paycheck protection, and loans or grants to employers and self-employed workers.


What The Agency Identifies as Pandemic Assistance


The Social Security Administration has identified each type of pandemic-related assistance as “disaster assistance” which means these amounts are excluded from being counted as resources without a time limit. The Social Security Administration is now in the process of reviewing Supplemental Security Income applications as well as redeterminations and appeals that go back to the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. This way, the agency can restore Supplemental Security Income for individuals whose Supplemental Security Income was impacted by receiving any of the help listed. In most situations, people will not need to do anything. If the Social Security Administration requires no additional information, they will restore benefits going forward and send a lump sum of “underpaid” benefits that were missing since March 2020. The Social Security Administration will later mail a letter that addresses the payments to the most recent address on file for the individual. 


If a person has either an appointed representative or a representative payee, the Social Security Administration will also send information to the representative. If the Social Security Administration needs additional details from this individual they can restore this person’s Supplemental Security Income benefits. 


Addressing Social Security Problems


Following these changes, financial accounts above $2,000 will require additional information to be provided by the individual and then manual actions to be taken by a Social Security Administration worker to apply the pandemic-associated resource exclusion. The Social Security Administration has informed its workers to accept individual’s reasonable allegations addressing the amount of assistance that was obtained and the way that funds were held. Social Security Administration workers should not require additional documentation in these situations. 


Contact an Experienced Elder Law Attorney

If a person has moved since their SSI benefits were lowered or suspended, they should make sure to properly address these issues. If you have questions or concerns about qualifying for social security income, you also might be confused about how to proceed. Many other SSI estate planning issues can arise. If you or a loved one needs the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm. During an initial free consultation, we’ll discuss your available options to pursue compensation.

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