Disability, General, SSI

Social Security to Expand Access to SSI Program by Updating Definition of a Public Assistance Household

May 9, 2024 • By

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Last Updated: June 26, 2024

Father and two daughtersThe Social Security Administration recently published a final rule, “Expand the Definition of a Public Assistance Household.” This final rule announces one of several updates to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regulations that will help people receiving and applying for SSI. SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness, and to adults aged 65 and older. These benefits help pay for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and medicine. People applying for and receiving SSI must meet eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits.

Under the final rule, beginning September 30, 2024, the agency will expand the definition of a public assistance household to include households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments and households where not all members receive public assistance. The expanded definition will allow more people to qualify for SSI, increase some SSI recipients’ payment amounts, and reduce reporting burdens for individuals living in public assistance households.

The revised rule also changes the definition of a public assistance household when determining who in a household receives public assistance. The new rule defines a public assistance household as one that has both an SSI applicant or recipient, and at least one other household member who receives one or more of the listed means-tested public income-maintenance (PIM) payments (the any other definition). The previous policy required all household members to receive public assistance. This change benefits SSI recipients living in households where only some members receive public assistance.

“I’m committed to making systemic changes to help people access the critical benefits they need, including SSI,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security.

“By simplifying our policies and including an additional program geared towards low-income families, such as the SNAP, we are removing significant barriers to accessing SSI. These changes promote greater equity in our programs.”

SNAP is the first PIM benefit added to the agency’s public assistance household definition since it was established in 1980. This change helps ensure the agency’s policies better represent the current landscape of means-tested programs in the United States.

These changes are key because, if an applicant or recipient is determined to be living in a public assistance household, the agency assumes they are not receiving assistance from other household members that would otherwise be counted as income. This will allow more people to qualify for SSI and in some cases, receive a higher SSI payment.

This regulation update is one of several that Social Security is publishing to improve the SSI program. The agency recently announced it will exclude the value of food from SSI benefit calculations. The agency also recently announced it will expand its rental subsidy exception, currently only in place for SSI applicants and recipients residing in seven States, as a nationwide policy.

Social Security continuously examines programmatic policy and makes regulatory and sub-regulatory changes as appropriate.

For more information on the SSI program, including who is eligible and how to apply, visit Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

To read the final rule, visit Federal Register: Expand the Definition of a Public Assistance Household.


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  1. Elizabeth

    I received a one time payment without any notice oe letter from SSI, should I be concerned? I will turn 62 and I have been on Ssi due to disability. Thank you

    • S.D.

      Hi, Elizabeth. Thank you for reading our blog and for your question. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. Our notices are sent by mail through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). If you haven’t received a notice with an explanation of the recent payment you received, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      • Susanne

        I have some questions:

        If you receive snap do you still need to be blind, age 65 or have disability to qualify for SSI in September 2024? Also, does one sign up in September 2024 or do we receive letter exactly how will that process work?

        • S.S.

          Hi, Susanne. Thanks for reading our blog and for your questions. An application is still needed to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based program that makes payments to adults and children with disabilities, and people 65 and older, who have limited income and resources. For more information, visit our Who Can Get SSI page. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment to apply for SSI, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps.

  2. LaSandra W.

    I’m on SSI now and I’m still struggling with my bills 😭 can I apply for social security disability to??

    • S.S.

      Hi, LaSandra. Thank you for reading our blog. There are times a person can receive both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), depending on their situation and whether they meet the requirements. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are based on a worker’s earnings. Both SSI and SSDI are federal programs, and eligibility rules are the same in every state. To learn more about the differences between the two programs, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you still have questions, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps.

  3. Suse T.

    What about benefits for the death of a child who was married? My child passed away and was a highly paid engineer….. I have gotten nothing of his social security benefits and I have a very low social security income….
    Thanks if you will please look into this problem!

    • S.D.

      We’re sorry for your loss, Suse. If you are age 62 or older and your son supported you, you may be able to get Parent’s benefits. You must have been financially dependent on your son when he died. For more information, visit Who can get Survivors benefits and Information You Need to Apply for Parent’s Benefits. To discuss your eligibility and schedule an appointment, call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps.

  4. Mam

    What about the ssi restoration act 2024? When will that be passed? Is anyone working on it? President Biden Please do something about this now. It’s hard for people to live like this! ALSO do something about those awful overpayments SSA is making us pay back.

  5. Rlando C.

    You do what everybody else does cut back on stuff you don’t need.

  6. Shirlene H.

    Joe😮 Biden 😮 we😮 need😮 your😮 help😮 More😮 money 😮 on 😮checks🤑🤑🤑and more😮 foodstamps 🤑🤑🤑 everything 😮 so😮 dam 😮high 😮🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬in😮 stores 🏪

    • Karen

      Just retired and lost state benefits due to poverty guidelines. I have $114 left in soc sec after living expenses. I cannot pay for groceries (SNAP got cut), lost medicaid and extra help, cant afford prescriptions, car insurance, internet, toilet paper!


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