State SSI Cuts in Rhode Island Have Dire Consequences

Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) provides benefits to lower income, disabled Americans. Unlike other disability benefits (SSDI, for example), SSI does not base benefits on work history and payments made into the system. If you qualify for SSI benefits, you receive an amount that does not increase or decrease depending on how long you have worked before receiving benefits.

All states but six (Oklahoma is one of the states that does) provide supplemental SSI benefits in addition to the federal SSI benefits. As of January of this year, SSI benefits were $674 a month for individuals and $1,011 for a couple. For people living independently (this term covers most people living on their own), Oklahoma provides a modest increase in SSI benefits, adding $42 for an individual and $84 for a couple each month. Those applying for SSI benefits may wish to speak to a Tulsa SSI lawyer.

SSI beneficiaries in Rhode Island are going to court over their state’s decision to cut its extra SSI payments to beneficiaries. The added benefits in Rhode Island are substantial, so disabled beneficiaries may be put in a difficult situation if the benefits they have come to rely upon are suddenly drastically cut. The cuts are set to begin this week and reduce the added benefits from $538 a month to $332 (this is the amount that the state provides on top of the federal SSI benefits).

The cuts are already having an impact on disabled beneficiaries, as assisted living facilities are now closing their doors and having to evict some of their residents. The cuts amount to a reduction of almost $2,500 a year, which is a large portion of the income that disabled beneficiaries live off of. Many of them were just getting by as it was, so the disability benefits cuts have hit them hard. Rhode Island’s experience may be a good case study for what happens when disability reductions take place without a transition or without finding ways to improve the process in a way that harms the least number of people.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

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