What We're Reading: Wyden, Brown, Cassidy Announce First Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill in Decades to Update Supplemental Security Income Program

Today U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to announce the first bipartisan, bicameral push in decades to reform the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which has not been updated in nearly 40 years and currently punishes older and disabled Americans for saving for emergencies and their futures. The senators’ bipartisan SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act would update SSI’s asset limits for the first time since the 1980s to ensure disabled and elderly Americans are able to prepare themselves for a financial emergency without putting the benefits they rely on to live at risk.  

The current SSI program punishes disabled and elderly Americans for working, saving for the future, and getting married. Right now, individuals receiving SSI benefits are limited to $2,000 in assets; for married couples it’s $3,000. The average current monthly benefit is $585 for individuals. For approximately 60% of recipients, SSI is their only source of income. The Savings Penalty Elimination Act would raise those caps, which have not been changed since 1984, to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for married couples, and index them to inflation moving forward. 

A diverse range of more than 300 organizations, including AARP, JPMorgan Chase, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Evangelicals, Microsoft, the Bipartisan Policy Center, The Arc of the United States, Catholic Charities, and more are joining the new effort.

Read the full announcement here.