A new rule may help more older adults qualify for SSI

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Special Needs, Disability And Long-term Care Planning |

Older adults often need to plan carefully for their financial stability when they retire. People often have to save aggressively for decades to afford a decent standard of living once they stop working. Those who haven’t been able to save as much as they hoped to may worry about covering their basic living expenses later in life.

Many working adults may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. Those who still struggle to make ends meet might also potentially qualify for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. SSI is a needs-based benefits program that can provide monthly support to certain groups of vulnerable people, including retired adults. SSI can pay up to $943 per month in 2024.

There have always been relatively strict rules that apply to SSI benefits, and many people who struggle financially may have failed to qualify for benefits previously. They may also receive far less than the maximum benefit amount. However, a recent rule change enacted by the Social Security Administration (SSA) might help more older adults in New Jersey qualify for SSI benefits.

What SSI rule recently changed?

The SSA considers financial resources owned by an applicant, certain benefits and even personal property when determining who qualifies for SSI. Those who don’t meet strict standards don’t qualify or receive minimal support.

State benefits that help older adults pay for housing costs have previously counted against those applying for SSI during retirement. The benefits that people receive to help make their housing affordable after retirement have long prevented many older adults from qualifying for SSI benefits.

Only those in seven states with unique rules, including New York, could previously qualify for SSI while receiving housing benefits after retirement. That same rule now applies to applicants in all 50 states, including New Jersey. Quite a few older adults who didn’t previously qualify for SSI can now get benefits. Others may be able to increase how much they receive in benefits thanks to this change in the rules.

Understanding and making use of benefits programs can be an important element of elder law planning. Certain benefits can help people cover living expenses and protect their independence during their golden years. Those who understand the requirements for different benefits may use that information when planning for their future financial stability.