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Jun 30, 2011

SSI Is Not Enough To Live On

From a fact sheet prepared by the Technical Assistance Collaborative:
People with disabilities who receive SSI [Supplemental Security Income] payments continue to be the nation’s poorest citizens. In 2010, the annual income of a single individual receiving SSI payments was $8,436 – equal to only 18.7% of the national median income for a one-person household and over 20% below the 2010 federal poverty level of $10,830. Since the first Priced Out study was published in 1998, the value of SSI payments compared to median income has declined precipitously – from 24.4% of median income in 1998 to 18.7% in 2010 – while national average rents have risen over 50% during the same time period. 
In 2010, as a national average, a person receiving SSI needed to pay 112% of their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom unit. In the 12 years since the first Priced Out was published, the amount of monthly SSI income needed to rent a modest one-bedroom unit has increased an astonishing 62 percent. People with disabilities were also priced out of smaller studio/efficiency units, which averaged 99% of monthly SSI.

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  • 24 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    SSI = SUPPLEMENTAL security income. Supplemental implies that it is in ADDITION to other income. In other word, it SUPPLEMENTS.

    SSI is not meant to replace income and it is not meant to provide a comfortable lifestyle or make them have average earnings. It was designed to help those in the most difficult financial situation.

    12:37 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    And they also get food stamps, fuel assistance, WIC, free medical care, Section 8 and other housing subsidies, food from food banks and places like the Salvation Army, cash and services from local social services organizations, I could go on...

    12:45 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear could go on.. Please go on. Living high on the welfare hog - hope you or your significant others never have to live this way often at the whims of government paper pushers.

    1:36 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Move to Greece if you don't like it here.

    1:46 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    @ 1:36 pm...of course no one wants to live on SSI and other govt. welfare programs.

    However, but the point of anon at 12:45 is that the people who do get this type of assistance CAN live. These programs are NOT designed to replicate a middle class lifestyle, they are designed as a safety net to ensure people have basic needs met.

    2:25 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    To ANON #3, the person who posted ANON#2 never claimed that living on government assistance was lucrative, comfortable, or enjoyable. However, the situation for a person on SSI and receiving all the additional benefits that often accompany it is better than the Priced Out Report portrays it. The situation is also much better than the individual who is actually working and making just enough to not qualify for any government assistance, but is barely scraping by because their earnings are not great and they actually have to pay a high rent, buy their own food out of pocket, pay their utilities, etc. Those are the individuals more deserving of sympathy.

    2:31 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear SSA regulation writers,

    SSI RESOURCE LIMITS ARE JUST ANOTHER WAY TO DEGRADE THE DISABLED.

    5:58 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Let's think about this: A person can get a check from the govt after never working a single day in their life and they are going to complain about "it's not enough"?? Be glad you have enough to rent a room and get food stamps and medicaid. You certainly earned it everything you got..er,wait a minute.

    6:12 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "no one wants to live on SSI and other govt programs"??--wrong, wrong, wrong....over and over for decades we see people receiving large retroactive payments that they spend as fast as they can so they can stay on SSI. People scream about having to count a spouse or parent's income and get less or no SSI. They hide motor vehicles, jobs and bank accounts so they can get SSI and other assistance. Biggest myth in American society is that "no one" wants to get welfare. Take that $8000 plus and multiply it by three, four, five or six in a family getting SSI, and see what you get. I can't count the number of claimants who dress better than I do or have better cars than I do. "resource limit"?--give me a break. Sit down with the POMS and read the exclusions. Might want to get a couple of pizzas and a crate of snickers for while you're doing that.

    8:52 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would like to see an increase in the SSI earned income exclusion. Seriously, $65 a month that hasn't changed since 1974? If SSI recipients want to improve their standard of living, let them earn and extra $250 per month by the sweat of their brow. Learn how good it feels to be able to work and see extra in your life because of your own efforts. Don't discourage work.

    I was making $65 a month making milkshakes after school in 1974. Today I could make alot more in an after school job. RAISE THE EARNED INCOME EXCLUSION.

    9:09 PM, June 30, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "People with disabilities who receive SSI [Supplemental Security Income] payments continue to be the nation’s poorest citizens."

    given the resource limits, it should not be a surprise these people are the poorest citizens. duh.

    12:43 AM, July 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    9:09. $65 is the general earned income exclusion. Half of the remainding earnings are also excluded. If the person has no other income, then exclude $20 before excluding the $65.

    300 (Earnings)
    -20 (General income exclusion)
    -65 (General earned income excl.)
    215
    107.50 (Exclude half remainder)
    107.50 (Countable income and substracted from SSI payment)

    Not overly generous, but still an incentive to work and a way to supplement the supplement.

    5:34 AM, July 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is a lovely example of manipulating statistics for PR effect. Compare SSI to median income, but then compare that number to rent based on inflation/real estate. How high has median income risen compared to rent? This is laughable from a logical or scientific perspective. Big number is bigger than totally unrelated small number = policy implications!!!!

    5:52 AM, July 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Stop complaining about what you don't get and go to work so you can compete with the middle class who do work and possibly wont be able to collect on that income, because those who never worked are tired of dipping in it. If we want a better life, we work. People make up many times the excuse that they cant work because they are sick, next thing you know they are better than us health wise. I once interviewed someone that was in such pain that he could not walk unless he had a cane, well by the end of the interview I had to run after him because he forgot the cane (how ill can one be to forget what they SOOOO needed to live on).

    5:06 PM, July 05, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Just so you know its not as easy as it sounds to get those things...especially section 8 more like section 0 since theres always several years of waiting and hours upon hours upon days upon months of sitting on cold floors at the social services building waiting for them to tell you what you CANT have

    11:36 AM, March 09, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    well I have been on ssi barely a year and a half, I get no food stamps, pay full rent, receive no assistance from anyone or any charity for my elec bill. I do however try to make the best of the medicaid that is offered to try to get better, and I battle constantly with the provider not paying for my medications that the doctors prescribe.

    all in all there is no security in social security they want you to be scared, alone and poor.

    6:17 PM, March 22, 2014  
    Anonymous kh said...

    I will have to get a divorce, ssi will not allow me to have my benefits while my husband is working at a minimum wage fast food job with no overtime.

    we can't make it now, we have no foodstamps or vehicle or get help with utilities. we have no children hence we are not important.

    I fight constantly with my medicaid provider because they refuse the medication the the doctors prescribe for me to feel better.

    I am 53 years old I will be homeless walking the streets starving and sick.

    6:23 PM, March 22, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Interesting. Many of the comments here are as one could possibly expect to see. First of all the name is deceiving. It's supplemental to what? People on SSI generally don't qualify for Social Security disability for reasons like lack of work history. The maximum SSI in NY State in 2014 is $808.00. You cannot pay rent even for the smallest efficiency apartment or studio in most parts of NY with that amount. EVEN with the other government programs, you still have to have a roof over your head. The only way to do this is to room. Guess what? In many if not most parts of NY even a room will take up most if not all of the money you get in SSI just to pay rent, and you likely have no security in where you live. Because the recipient gets SSI, they will not get maximum SNAP (foodstamps) benefits, which means you need some of the SSI to pay for food. With the high cost of food, SNAP runs out quickly, and you can still run out of funds between cash and SNAP after paying rent and bills. So, back to supplemental. Supplemental to what? If you are working, you get to keep the first $60 you make and half of the rest. If you make enough money you will earn your way out of SSI, which won't be supplementing anything. If you're working a certain amount of time, you will earn your way out of SSI, and it won't be supplementing anything. You will be right back in the same sad boat. People who comment should know what they're talking about.

    6:27 PM, March 22, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    you do not get food stamps even though SSI is non taxable/non countable income the only thing it affects is food stamps i went from no income being forced to live off my family and $183 in food stamps to $721 ssi and only $15 food stamps now if i were not living with my family and giving them all i received and tried to pay rent and utilities and food not to mention gas to get to the grocery store or paying someone to drive u there is no way most cities you can not find rent alone for $500 "In 2010, as a national average, a person receiving SSI needed to pay 112% of their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom unit. In the 12 years since the first Priced Out was published, the amount of monthly SSI income needed to rent a modest one-bedroom unit has increased an astonishing 62 percent. People with disabilities were also priced out of smaller studio/efficiency units, which averaged 99% of monthly SSI. "

    1:02 PM, March 29, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I live on SSI because of heart failure. For me, SSI is not "supplemental"; it's all I have to live on. I've learned to live on the tightest budget, but the greatest difficulty is not being allowed to slowly save above the $2,000 limit.

    I've never had credit, (not bad credit, just no credit) and so, I have to pay cash for everything. I have to buy old cars that keep breaking down.

    If I was allowed to have more than $2,000 in savings, I could slowly get myself out of SSI. With the limit, I'll be on SSI until I die.

    12:10 PM, April 13, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You can only make $87 a month or you lose your "supplemental " income. I am disabled and work isn't possible.

    6:28 AM, May 20, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    maybe some people qualify all sorts of combined benefits and its enough, but i don't. just ssi, and food stamps. even with food stamps, its not enough to afford rent.. never mind food.. i'm not trying to rip anyone off, i just want to survive, but even that seems like asking too much. i have no idea what i'm going to do.

    8:12 AM, June 18, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am almost of age to collect social security. I've read a few comments that say social security is just a supplement income....but I disagree or atleast it wasn't in the past.
    All four of my grandparents worked every day of their lives. All of them relied on social security for when they retired and they did just fine and never needed anything extra. They were able to go out to eat now and then too.
    Things have changed, big time. Now because of cost of living ect... Most retired people can not meet their bills.
    It's sad that some people will have to work until they die.This will affect all of us in society. Some thing needs to change...back...

    10:11 AM, July 05, 2014  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Um isn't the whole point being they are NOT ABLE to work? Some people were born with medical conditions and are never able to get a job because of these conditions which means they are not eligible for regular disability so they have to get SSI because they have not worked anywhere because THEY Couldn't!! Don't get me wrong as with anything in this world there are people receiving these benefits who really don't need them but a person who has never been able to work before having to live on just SSI can be difficult because it really is not that much money and I'm sure if many of them COULD work they WOULD. I'm not saying the government should pay them enough to be wealthy but definitely should pay these people enough to not have to scrape by month to month in a trailer park all because they are DISABLED

    12:38 AM, July 15, 2014  

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