…and Why People Do It
Welfare countries hold great regard for the well-being of their citizens. This is why almost all major countries that hold reputable welfare ratios are keen to ensure that their citizens are taken care of and provided with the necessary financial support.
Due to a functioning welfare system, the government of a country is able to allocate a specific budget that can be used for providing any citizen in need with the needed support whenever they require it. This level of insurance helps the government maintain a national happiness ratio and keep its citizens satisfied.
Apart from a variety of different support programs, the government of welfare countries tends to provide a supplemental security income that comes with a few prerequisites.
Here I’ll dive deep into what a supplemental security income is and who is eligible for it, in case you’ve ever been interested.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
The concept of a supplemental security income (SSI) is fairly straightforward and understandable for people from all walks of life. An SSI program is a government-led initiative for its citizens to receive monthly cash assistance.
Administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), an SSI program is primarily targeted towards the disabled and older citizens facing financial challenges. Despite being organized and managed by SSA, the payments regulated for the funds of an SSI program come out of the U.S. Treasury’s general revenues.
The qualifications criteria for the program are fairly simple and allow the eligible individuals to distinctively apply without much hassle. We will discuss the qualifications criteria for the program in detail. An important point to note here is that an SSI is different from a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
While the eligibility for an SSDI is only determined by your condition, the eligibility requirements are slightly different for an SSI program, and it is possible for you to receive benefits from both programs.
Supplemental Security Income Claim – How to Do it?
Since its inauguration in 1974, the number of SSI recipients has only increased and the program has improved in terms of strength and effectiveness. From just being a Social Security income program, it is now recognized as a regulated anti-poverty program that has the ability to cater to the needs of a huge majority of elderly and disabled individuals (both children and adults).
The eligibility criteria for the program are fairly lenient and promote complete transparency to ensure that most, if not all, allocations are given to those in need. Since the program is for disabled people of all ages, children with disabilities are also included as the child’s disability can cause a significant amount of financial burden for the caregiver. Starting in 1974, the child support wasn’t as much until the 1984 ruling that expanded the radius of the program to benefit eligibility for mentally disabled people.
As of today, most children who receive care from the SSI live with a single parent, and the SSI income constitutes almost half of the total household income. This level of support for single parents or low-earning households is what keeps the SSI program up and running.
Currently, people who are born with any kind of disability or cannot afford to provide enough for their family due to their being elderly are eligible for a supplemental security income claim without any further prerequisites. You can contact the SSA helpline or apply Online for Disability benefits.
Reforms to Improve the Program:
Although the impact of the SSI program is already huge, there are certain reforms that many believe will further improve the scale of the program.
- Allowing legal immigrants to make a legal claim for the supplemental security income program and enjoy similar benefits as the natives to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
- SSA needs to raise the benefit levels to ensure that a wider range of poverty lines is covered in the program. This will help the administration cater to a larger population and improve financial stability in the region.
- The asset limits that determine the financial standing of an elderly person or couple should be increased from the current threshold of $2000 and $3000 respectively to ensure that the elderly/disabled persons who are actually in need can qualify for the program.
Although the process of making a supplemental security income claim is straightforward, there might be some complications. This is why many people tend to contact an SSI lawyer to make sure that their claim is not dismissed on the basis of any technicalities. Considering the low complexity of the scenario, this little investment can yield a consistent advantage.
Effectiveness of Supplemental Security Income
When comparing the benefits yielded from an average SSI program, it is estimated to be 75% of the level of poverty for singles and almost 80% of the level of poverty for a couple. This is the scale of effectiveness of an SSI program for under-developed individuals. It is not as great as we want it to be but it’s a start for struggling individuals.
Factually, SSI is not enough to allow low-earning or disabled individuals to get rid of their poverty situation. However, with the support that is provided by the program, there is a significant decrease in the overall financial burden on the breadwinner of the household.
Due to its consistent support, the SSI program has managed to make a significant impact in reducing the poverty gap for the recipients. While there still are a reasonable amount of people who reside in households that are below the poverty threshold after taking the benefits, the overall poverty gap has decreased which has helped a huge majority of low-earning families.
Considering the overall impact of the Supplemental Security Income program, it is safe to say that the program can be considered as an anti-poverty program. It is specifically allocated in the federal budget to cater to the needs of elderly and disabled citizens. Even if the policymakers do not make the SSI program more effective, they are still providing care to two of the most dependent types of citizens.