Capitol Correspondence - 12.12.23

Support Grows for SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act

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In a notable development, executives from the top eight U.S. banks have supported the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act, a bipartisan effort led by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), James Lankford (R-OK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), aims to revamp the outdated eligibility rules of the Social Security Income (SSI) program.

The bipartisan bill is gaining momentum as a comprehensive solution to address SSI’s asset limits and enhance beneficiaries’ ability to work and save without jeopardizing vital benefits.

During a recent U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing with major bank executives, Senator Brown outlined the legislation’s objective to lift SSI beneficiaries out of poverty by raising asset limits. JP Morgan Chase had already expressed support, and when asked, the executives of Bank of America, State Street, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley all affirmed their backing for the bill.

The SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act proposes a substantial increase in asset limits, raising them to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for married couples. The existing limits, unchanged since 1984, are criticized as regressive and detrimental to savings.

Introduced in September 2023, the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act has garnered support from a diverse array of organizations, including ANCOR, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, AARP, the Autism Society of America, and over 300 local and national groups. The extensive endorsement underscores the urgency and broad consensus on the need for comprehensive reform to empower SSI beneficiaries, ultimately promoting financial independence and equity.