Need to Change Income Criteria of the Supplemental Security Income Program

HRD-77-114: Published: Jun 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1977.

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An examination was performed of the Supplemental Security Income program to identify legislative changes needed for recipients to be treated more equitably.

Concern was expressed about a provision that calls for a reduction in benefits when recipients receive in-kind support and maintenance. The amount of the reduction varies depending upon the recipient's living arrangements. This can result in recipients with similar in-kind support and maintenance being paid different benefits. Of the 4.2 million recipients receiving benefits as of December 1976, one-half million, or about 12%, had their benefits reduced under this provision. H.R. 3282, one of several bills relating to this subject, would eliminate consideration of in-kind support and maintenance in determining eligibility for program benefits and the amount of such benefits. This change would simplify program administration and also eliminate the noted inequities. According to Social Security estimates, it would cost about $485 million per year in increased benefits, compared to about $15 million under a GAO legislative proposal.

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