Is the asset limit for SSI about to change?
Members of Congress are renewing a push to pass legislation that would increase asset limits for SSI recipients from $2,000 to $10,000 for individuals and from $3,000 to $20,000 for married couples. If passed, the legislation would also tie SSI’s asset limits to inflation, ensuring continued adjustments for inflation moving forward.
Increasing these asset limits, which have not been adjusted since 1989, will benefit those who receive public benefits by providing them with a bit more financial flexibility. The current asset limits make it difficult for those on public benefits to maintain significant savings, plan for their futures, or deal with a financial emergency. These proposed increases would also help individuals avoid losing access to their public benefits as a result of a relatively small cash windfall, such as a paycheck or a tax refund, that may be deposited in their account automatically and could disqualify them from their public benefits.
Currently, there are a few ways for individual that access public benefits to maintain savings and own assets above the current asset limits. Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Accounts are two instruments that allow individuals to maintain savings while still collecting public benefits such as SSI, and monies held in these types of accounts are not counted against asset limits. However, even individuals who utilize these accounts would certainly benefit from the increase in asset limits by having the potential to save more money in a standard bank account that they could have immediate, easy access to.
Increases to the asset limits for SSI recipients are overdue and will only serve to increase the quality of life for those on public benefits.