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Update SSI Unearned/Earned Income Exclusions/

While minimum wages have been raised over the years, and there is talk of a $15 minimum wage, the Social Security Administration has not raised the unearned ($20) and earned income ($65) exclusions since SSI was started and SGA was only ~$200 in 1975 ($85/200 = 42%). SGA is now $1320.

By raising these two income exclusions to reflect Cost of Living increases since then, more individuals will have less fear over losing their Medicaid health benefits and will be more inclined to work. Recommend changing them to a total of $550. While it is great to talk about work incentives & PASS Plans, SSA doesn't make it easy to use these two tools and often doesn't record them, especially currently when people have to fax/mail items into SSA offices that are still empty.

Also since SSA computer systems seem to be antiquated and persons cannot record work incentives within the wages reported app or the web based portal, it would be great to update the app to be able to update/record work incentives. With SSA not working in their offices yet, it is extremely difficult to make sure these incentives are available and recorded by SSA. In addition, if the system was updated, the check for the following month should be automatically adjusted instead of it happening in 4 months time. When people report their wages, it should automatically tell individuals what their check will be the next month, instead of waiting for a letter in the mail. This would also prevent overpayments/underpayments from happening.

When individuals depend on their monthly SSA check for budgeting purposes and keeping Medicaid health insurance, the antiquated computer system needs to improve & the earned/unearned income exclusions need updates. Maybe DOL can assist SSA in figuring this out. We see this impacting more families from diverse backgrounds and it would improve efforts to advance racial and social equity in employment for people with disabilities. Even educated, privileged white people with college degrees have difficulty following/keeping up with SSA ridiculousness and can become frustrated with the system and give up on work.

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Idea No. 534