In a unique scheduling twist by the Social Security Administration, recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are set to receive a second payment this September, just two weeks from now. Individual beneficiaries could receive a maximum of $914, while couples may be eligible for up to $1,371. This additional payment, scheduled for Friday, September 29th, will replace the regular October monthly payment due to an anomaly in the Social Security Administration’s calendar.
The first payment for the month was already disbursed on September. Typically, filers receive a single monthly payment. However, in the uncommon scenario where the scheduled payment date falls on a weekend, recipients receive their payment on the last business day of the preceding month. Payment amounts are contingent upon various factors such as the filer’s income, living arrangement, assets, and other relevant considerations.
Social Security Payment Details and Upcoming Schedule Changes
For individual filers, monthly payments can be as high as $914. Eligible couples may receive a maximum of $1,371 per month. Additionally, essential persons who reside with an SSI recipient and provide them with essential care receive a monthly payment of $458. To be eligible for the federal program, distinct from standard Social Security retirement benefits, an individual must be aged 65 or older and meet specific financial criteria.
For those under 65, qualification is possible if they are partially blind, have a physical or mental condition severely restricting their daily activities for at least one year, or if their condition is anticipated to be fatal.
Children may also meet the criteria for SSI payments if they are partially blind or have a physical or mental condition significantly limiting their activities for a minimum of one year. Additionally, their parents or guardians must satisfy specific financial prerequisites.
The history of Social Security Administration payments traces back to their initial issuance in January 1974. Since 1975, these payment rates have seen periodic increases to account for the rising cost of living, a practice that the agency has consistently upheld.
Looking ahead to the year 2023, a notable change in the payment schedule is on the horizon. In that year, individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive two SSI checks during the months of March, June, September, and December. This marks a shift from the standard practice where beneficiaries typically receive only one payment on the first day of each month.
The adjustment to a bimonthly schedule during these specific months is part of the Social Security Administration’s ongoing efforts to provide more consistent support to recipients, better aligning the disbursement of funds with their financial needs. This nuanced approach reflects the agency’s commitment to adapting its practices to meet the evolving requirements of SSI beneficiaries.
What factors determine the amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) a recipient receives?
The amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) a recipient receives is determined by several factors, primarily the recipient’s income, living situation, and countable resources.
Income affects SSI payments significantly. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reduces SSI payments by approximately $1 for every $2 earned from work. Money from non-work sources, such as pensions, unemployment benefits, interest, dividends, payments from state programs, and other Social Security benefits, can lower payments by about $1 for every $1 received. If you live with a spouse or parents, their income may also affect your payment.
The Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) outlines the SSI income limit for eligibility and the maximum monthly SSI payment. The FBR will increase moderately each year in conjunction with the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, tracking inflation.
SSI payments are calculated by subtracting your countable income from the maximum SSI federal benefit rate. The SSA excludes the first $20 of most income. If you have earnings, the SSA doesn’t count the first $65 and then only counts half of what you earn over that.
Countable income for SSI includes earned income, unearned income, in-kind income, and deemed income. Earned income includes income you receive for doing a job, unearned income includes payments and other income sources that aren’t from working a job, in-kind income involves non-cash items that can be used for food or shelter, and deemed income is income that the SSA considers you have a share of because you live with someone who earns it.
If you live in someone else’s home, your SSI may be lowered by up to a third of the year’s maximum payment. This reduction doesn’t apply if you live with someone else and pay your fair share of food and shelter costs.
Resources, for the purposes of SSI, are things you own such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles, and anything else you own that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.
The SSA has set a limit on the amount of resources you can have to be eligible for SSI. As of 2023, your total assets must be worth less than $2,000 if you’re single ($3,000 if married).
How Will the COLA Adjustment Increase Your Social Security Payments?
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is an important part of the Social Security program, designed to safeguard the purchasing power of Social Security beneficiaries in the face of rising living costs. This adjustment relies on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to measure changes in the prices of typical urban worker expenses.
Annually, the SSA reviews CPI-W data for the third quarter of the current year, comparing it to the previous year’s third-quarter data to determine the COLA percentage increase.
This adjustment takes effect in January of the following year, ensuring beneficiaries can maintain their standard of living as prices rise. While the size of the COLA varies with inflation rates, it can significantly impact the financial well-being of recipients, and it’s worth noting that this process is automatic and does not require congressional or presidential decision-making.
All Social Security programs, including SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): for 2024, the COLA increase is projected to be around 3%, but the final number is set to be announced in October 2023.