The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) believes that all individuals with Down syndrome deserve the ability to pursue their goals and expand their work opportunities without compromising their SSI benefits. In line with this vision, NDSS champions the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act on the federal level. The toolkit below is intended to support community advocates who wish to get involved with SSI savings penalty elimination advocacy efforts.
Many individuals with Down syndrome are eligible for and receive monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that allow them to meet their basic needs. Additionally, in most states, individuals who are eligible to receive SSI are also automatically eligible for Medicaid. Unfortunately, there are many limitations and barriers that exist to allowing individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities to maximize their potential to work, earn, and save their money while also retaining the critical SSI and Medicaid benefits that they need.
At the federal level, NDSS champions the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act. NDSS supports this legislation because it would increase the allowable assets for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and eliminate the marriage penalty.
Currently, to remain eligible to receive benefits, individuals may not have more than $2,000 in resources (assets). Additionally, if two SSI-qualified beneficiaries choose to marry, their combined allowable assets cannot exceed $3,000. This is often referred to as the “marriage penalty” as the combined limit is less than the allowable assets that everyone would be able to hold if they were unmarried.
The SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act would increase asset limits to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for married couples and index both limits annually to adjust for inflation.
For more information on the federal bill, please contact Anna Fedewa, Manager of Federal Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.