Millions Could Benefit from Social Security Changes

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently made an announcement that will bring positive changes to the lives of millions of people in the United States. They have decided to remove a crucial factor from their calculation process, which determines a person’s eligibility for support and the amount they are entitled to receive. This decision will have a significant impact on individuals’ benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Wednesday that it plans to exclude food from its in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) calculations. This calculation is used to determine the eligibility and amount of supplemental income support individuals may receive from the agency. This decision has the potential to positively impact millions of Americans who rely on supplemental security income (SSI) from the SSA.

An SSA spokesperson responded to Newsweek’s request for comment, stating that the SSI program offers financial assistance to around 7.5 million individuals who have limited income and resources.

Geared towards children, adults with disabilities, and individuals aged at least 65 years with low incomes, this program averages nearly $700 a month.

The purpose of these benefits is to enhance individuals’ spending on essential needs such as housing, food, clothing, and medicine. Previously, when determining eligibility, the agency would consider any food assistance an individual might receive from friends or family.

According to a statement from the SSA, individuals who are applying for and receiving SSI need to meet certain eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits. The agency considers In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) as unearned income, which includes food, shelter, or both that a person receives. This means that ISM can potentially impact a person’s eligibility for SSI or result in a reduction in their payment amount.

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Beginning September 30, the inclusion of food in ISM calculations will no longer be required, according to the agency. This change aims to simplify the application process for SSI applicants.

“The SSA commissioner, Martin O’Malley, emphasized the importance of assisting individuals in obtaining essential benefits, such as SSI. In a statement, he expressed that streamlining policies is a practical approach that alleviates the strain on both the public and agency personnel. Furthermore, it fosters fairness by eliminating obstacles that hinder access to payments.”

The SSA announced that it will no longer consider food support as part of an applicant’s income due to a recent rule change.

In its statement, the agency stated that the new policy eliminates a significant obstacle for individuals seeking SSI eligibility. Specifically, it removes the requirement that applicants or recipients must not receive informal food assistance from friends, family, or community networks of support.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has identified a need to address the volatility in the amount of support received by recipients. In an effort to streamline the process and provide clarity, the SSA has decided to remove the food part of the ISM calculation. This change will help determine the eligibility of applicants and ensure a more consistent level of support.

“The SSA stated that the new policy has several significant benefits. Firstly, it is designed to be more user-friendly and easily understandable for applicants, recipients, and agency employees. This simplification aims to enhance the overall experience for all parties involved. Additionally, the policy reduces the amount of information that applicants and recipients need to report regarding food assistance received from family and friends. This change effectively eliminates a substantial source of burden, further streamlining the process.”

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The agency emphasized that improving payment accuracy and reducing month-to-month variability in payment amounts will lead to administrative savings. They also noted that less time would be spent administering food ISM.

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