On July 23, 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released new guidance about how pandemic-related financial assistance will affect an individual’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or their monthly SSI benefit amount. Previously, SSA had been counting many types of assistance as income and resources for SSI purposes, resulting in individuals having their SSI benefits reduced or suspended or having their applications for SSI benefits denied.
However, due to the severity of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SSA has decided they will not count most types of pandemic-related financial assistance against SSI eligibility or benefit amount. This includes:
• Economic Impact Payments (EIP)
• State Stimulus Payments (including California’s Golden State Stimulus and Golden State Grant payments, Maryland’s stimulus payments for EITC filers, and New Mexico’s tax rebates for recipients of the Working Families Tax Credit)
• Unemployment Assistance (including regular state unemployment benefits, with the time period for the exclusion in certain states ending in June or July 2021)
• Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Loan Forgiveness to Employers and Self-Employed Individuals
• Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: Loans/Grants to Employers and Self-Employed Individuals /Grants
A full list of the types of excluded pandemic-related disaster assistance is available here. Since SSA has identified all of these types of pandemic-related financial assistance as “disaster assistance,” they are excluded from being counted as a resource indefinitely, without a time limit.
SSA is now reviewing SSI applications, redeterminations, appeals, and other records going back to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 to restore SSI payments for people whose SSI was affected by receiving pandemic-related disaster assistance.
• NCLER Practice Tip, Important Change for SSI Recipients and Applicants
• EM-20014 REV 3, Effect of COVID-19 Related Financial Assistance on SSI Income and Resources (published July 23, 2021; in effect until January 23, 2022)
• EM-21050, Special Processing Instructions for Applying Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Income and Resource Exclusions to Pandemic-Related