SSI History in Review

America’s Great Depression sparked the implementation of the program that we refer to today as Social Security Insurance (SSI). The SSI History begins in 1935 when the U.S. passed the Social Security Act. However, it was amended almost before it even started. Many of the principles incorporated into the original body of the Act, and later amendments, underlie the program, today. Through the years since its implementation, the SSA introduced programs for:

  • blind people
  • the aged in need
  • disabled individuals

These measures, known as adult categories, were distributed by state and local governments, with partial federal funding. During this period, the programs became confusing, complicated and inconsistent, with many agencies involved and payments varying state by state.

The Program’s Evolution

SSI History in ReviewDue to many policy changes through the years, in the early 1970’s, the system experienced reform. In 1972, Congress federalized “adult categories” with the passing of Social Security Amendments (SSA). It created the SSI program and assigned the responsibility of it to the SSA, because of its reputation. They had been efficiently distributing existing social insurance programs. In addition, the SSA’s used a nationwide network of field offices and large-scale data processing and record-keeping operations. Hence, making it the logical choice for converting over 3 million people from State programs to Federal SSI.

Therefore, in January 1974, payments through SSI began in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Under the program, eligible persons receive a monthly cash payment according to the statutory federal benefit rate. Since 1975, these rates have increased, on occasion, along with the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).

Some Factors That Can Affect Benefits
  • If an individual or couple is living in another person’s household, and that person is providing both food and shelter, the federal benefit rate can be reduced.
  • Individuals are generally eligible for SSI if they have monthly resources less than $2,000 (or $3,000 for a couple).
  • Certain resources are excluded, most commonly a home, an automobile, and household goods and personal effects.
  • States have the option to supplement the Federal SSI payment. It applies for all or selected categories of persons, regardless of previous state program eligibility.

This brief SSI history offers a simple review of the program since it began during The Great Depression. Since that time, there have been many changes, as the country has sought a way to be socially responsible.

If you have questions about disability benefits, eligibility, or denial – contact us today for a consultation. DSS can assist you through the entire process, from filling out applications to gathering medical evidence. We are here to support you. Also, check out our blog on mistakes to avoid when applying for disability benefits and learn more about how we help you.