For many Americans, Social Security is all about retirement benefits. But Social Security as a whole actually encapsulates a number of programs designed to assist qualifying Americans.
One of the most important of these is the Supplemental Security Income program, or SSI. As the name implies, SSI provides supplemental income for those most in need. Those who qualify can receive SSI benefits in addition to Social Security retirement payouts. Changes to the SSI generally only occur at the start of every year. However, just as with Social Security retirement benefits, there are indicators in the latter half of the year that can foretell potential changes coming in 2023.
Here’s an overview of the SSI program in general, along with a look at specific information pertaining to August 2022.
Who Qualifies for SSI?
The SSI provides benefit payments for those with low income and few resources who are also disabled, blind or at least age 65. For 2022, singles must earn less than $861 per month in unearned income to qualify, and $1,767 in total income. Those figures jump to $1,281 and $2,607, respectively, for couples.
There is also a resource limit to qualify for SSI. For 2022, a person must own no more than $2,000 in assets to qualify, or $3,000 for a couple. However, numerous real-world assets are excluded, including a primary residence, household goods and personal effects, one car, property used in a trade or business, and funds up to and including $100,000 in an ABLE account.
When Are the Payment Dates for SSI in August and Beyond?
Unlike Social Security retirement benefits, which are paid on varying Wednesdays depending on your date of birth, everyone in the SSI program receives benefits on the same date. In most cases, this is the 1st of the month, and that is true for August 2022 as well.
However, in some months, SSI benefits are paid both on the 1st of the month and the last Friday of the month, with no payment on the 1st of the following month. For 2022, this is true for April, September and December, with no payment on the 1st of May, October or January 2023.
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How Much Are the Payments for SSI?
Eligible individuals receive $841 per month for 2022, or $10,092.40 per year. Eligible couples receive $1,261 per month, or $15,136.93 per year. Those defined as “essential persons” receive $421 per month, or $5,057.77 per year. An “essential person” is basically someone who lives with an SSI recipient and provides them with basic care.
These amounts may be supplemented by state or territorial payments as well. In fact, with the exception of Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and the northern Mariana Islands, all U.S. states and territories add money to federal SSI payments.
In many cases, the SSA administers payments for states and territories, meaning you’ll receive a single, larger payment. Amounts vary based on where and with whom people live. In California, for example, maximum payments for older individuals and couples are increased to $1,040.21 and $1,765.64, respectively. In Vermont, payment maximums are $893.04 and $1,359.88, respectively.
Payments may also vary for blind and disabled persons. In California, for example, those maximums jump to $1,110.26/$1,952.88 for blind individuals.
Do SSI Payments Receive a Cost-of-Living Adjustment?
SSI payments receive the same cost-of-living adjustment as Social Security retirement benefits. For 2022, this amounted to a 5.9% boost in benefits.
The formula for calculating the annual COLA is based on the CPI-W, a close relative to the more often-quoted CPI. August is an important time for the COLA, as the SSA uses the year-over-year change in CPI-W from July to September each year to determine the following year’s adjustment. The SSA will announce the 2023 COLA for Social Security payments, including the SSI, in October 2022.
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