Congressman Jimmy Gomez Introduces the Stable SSI Benefits and Housing Assistance Act

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Supports, recently introduced legislation to ensure individuals participating in local relocation assistance programs in Los Angeles and throughout the country are not at risk of losing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

“In the face of the critical housing crisis facing Los Angeles and regions across the United States, my bill – the Stable SSI Benefits and Housing Assistance Act – would help some of the most vulnerable members of our community navigate the confusing landscape of federal, state, and local benefits, as well as help them secure the support they need,” said Congressman Gomez. “With housing costs continuing to skyrocket across California, vulnerable individuals should receive both the federal and local benefits to which they are entitled when they’re in need of housing relocation assistance.”

The Stable SSI Benefits and Housing Assistance Act – H.R. 6028 – would amend the income and resource exclusions for SSI eligibility so that receiving relocation assistance mandated by a state or local government – but paid by a third party – does not count against the recipient. Federal, state, and local relocation assistance programs can help fill the gap for individuals who are displaced or evicted through no fault of their own. However, under current federal law, accepting some forms of local relocation assistance can put vulnerable individuals at risk of losing vital federal assistance in the form of SSI. SSI is considered the safety net program of “last resort” for aged, blind, and disabled individuals, so the possibility of being cut off from SSI can be disastrous. There exist several income and resource exclusions for SSI eligibility, including for some—but not all—forms of relocation assistance.

41,170 SSI recipients live in California’s 34th Congressional District, including 25,000 over 65. Under this legislation, individuals facing the unfortunate situation of a no-fault eviction could accept relocation assistance without jeopardizing their participation in the program.

The legislation was co-sponsored by Gomez’ fellow Los Angeles County members sitting on the Ways and Means Committee, Congresswomen Linda Sánchez and Judy Chu. The legislation has been endorsed by: Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force; Justice in Aging; National Association of Disability Representatives; National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; National Organization of Social Security Claimants; Social Security Works; and the Arc of the United States.

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