Action Center

Urge Congress to Support People with Disabilities
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the federal program that provides a minimum level of income to impoverished people with severe disabilities and older adults, is in dire need of reform. Due to out-of-date benefits and caps on earned income and assets, SSI is trapping people in poverty -- providing financial assistance that is now 26 percent below the federal poverty level.

Introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) in September 2023, the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act (S.2767/H.R.5408) would raise the asset limit for individuals from $2,000 to $10,000 and for couples from $3,000 to $20,000 and index future limits to inflation by modernizing out-of-date caps on assets. The bill would ensure that low-income people with disabilities and older adults are able to save for purchases such as costly durable medical equipment, medicine, and other unexpected or emergency expenses without losing benefits.

Urge your members of Congress to support the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act now!


SSI plays a vital role in providing a sub-poverty minimum income to adults and children facing severe disabilities constituting the primary income source for approximately 60 percent of recipients. Despite its significance, SSI offers only an extremely modest cash benefit, capped at $841 a month in 2022, for individuals with disabilities and older adults meeting stringent means-tested criteria. With nearly 7.6 million people relying on SSI as of March 2022, including working-age individuals with disabilities, children with disabilities, and older adults, the existing program's benefits and eligibility rules perpetuate a cycle of poverty. 

These asset limits, established decades ago, impose caps on income and assets, trapping recipients in a perpetual state of financial instability. People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as those without disabilities. Additionally, of great importance to our community, 1/3 of Holocaust survivors live in poverty. The SSI Penalty Savings Elimination Act aims to rectify these issues, seeking to alleviate the outdated constraints that hinder economic mobility for those dependent on SSI to meet their basic needs. 

The proposed changes in this act aim to improve asset limits to better reflect the current cost of living. This adjustment aims to prevent stagnation in these limits, ensuring they remain relevant and responsive over time. The legislation also recognizes the pressing issue of inflation which allows the Act to become a crucial tool in assisting some of the most economically vulnerable citizens. Additionally, the Act seeks to depoliticize decisions related to asset limits by separating them from Congressional deliberations. Instead, the decides increases in asset limits based on economic data.

Jewish Values

Jewish tradition teaches about the importance of creating a world that is accessible for all people. Leviticus says, “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14). We must work to ensure that there are no barriers to inclusion and access for all members of our community. Our commitment to accessibility includes ensuring that people with disabilities, regardless of age, are not forced into poverty due to the high cost of medical devices or other disability-related expenses.

For More Information

For more information, please contact RAC Legislative Assistant Sammy Angelina at sangelina@rac.org.



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