Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

A rule that affected older adults applying for SSI just changed

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Employees in the United States make regular contributions to Social Security programs. Employers withhold funds to send to the Social Security Administration (SSA) along with estimated income tax contributions that they send to the state and the IRS.

Many people eventually qualify for Social Security retirement benefits because of the contributions they made earlier in their careers. Occasionally, when those too young to retire have severe medical issues, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

There is also a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits program. SSI offers financial support to a variety of people, including children who have disabling medical conditions and older adults with limited income. The rules about qualifying for SSI have recently changed, and that change could be beneficial for older adults who might need to apply for SSI benefits or who already receive SSI benefits.

What rule has changed?

SSI is only available to retired adults with limited financial resources. Certain types of benefits can potentially count against someone’s eligibility for SSI after retirement. Rental assistance is sometimes the only way for those living on fixed incomes during retirement to maintain independent living spaces.

Sadly, discounted rental rates or subsidies have prevented thousands of older adults from qualifying for SSI. Previously, there were only seven states where housing benefits did not affect eligibility for SSI. A change in the rules now makes that standard apply nationwide.

Technically, Texas was already among the seven states where applicants could qualify despite receiving housing benefits, but not all older adults understood that rule. Now that it has become more widespread, more retired adults may feel comfortable requesting SSI benefits.

Those who did not qualify for benefits before or who never applied because they assumed they could not may potentially now be able to secure SSI benefits. Those already receiving SSI might qualify for an increase in their benefit amount if a housing subsidy previously counted against them. The maximum monthly benefit amount is $943 in 2024, although many recipients receive less than that.

Learning about the rules for SSI benefits can help older adults maintain the highest possible standard of living after retirement. Older adults with limited resources may benefit from seeking the support of monthly SSI payments.