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March 09, 2005

Aid to the Poor: SSI for the Old

I looked up a few figures on aid to the poor. The Statistical Abstract tells us that in 2002 (the latest year available) state and federal governments spent 258 billion dollars on medical aid for the poor, 34 billion on SSI, 19 billion on family assistance, 18 billion on food stamps, 48 billion on other assistance, and 52 billion on unemployment insurance.

4.8 million people were getting SSI. 40 million people were collecting social security. 151 million people had positive earnings. 32 million people had dividends.

SSI is an interesting program. Under it, able-bodied people can collect cash aid if they are aged 65 or over, even if they own their homes.

SSI is a federal program that gives monthly payments to people who are age 65 or older or are blind or have a disability and who have low income and few resources (things owned).

... Even though Social Security runs the program, SSI is not Social Security. SSI is financed by U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust funds....

In most states, people who get SSI get Medicaid, which pays health care expenses.

Findlaw says
Countable income must be:

* below $500 a month for single adult or child
* below $751 a month for couple

(In states that pay SSI supplements, countable income can be higher; see list on back.)

* $2,000 for single adult or child
* $3,000 for couple (limit applies even if only one member is eligible)

Not all resources count. Some exclusions are:

* the home a person lives in
* a car, depending on use or value
This ought to more generally known.

Posted by erasmuse at March 9, 2005 09:03 PM

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