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Published: May 10, 2024 3 min read
Photo collage of an overhead view of people walking over multiple social security cards
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A change in government policy will help more Americans qualify for Social Security benefits — and increase payments for some existing recipients.

The Social Security Administration announced Thursday that it has published a final rule affecting its Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which sends monthly checks to about 7.4 million Americans with limited resources who are disabled, blind or older than 65. The rule expands the agency's definition of a "public assistance household," opening it up to households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, informally known as food stamps.

SSI payments are based on income and resources; the more a person has, generally, the less they get paid. This adjustment is crucial because the government will now assume that an SSI candidate in a SNAP household isn't getting income from other people they live with — which may make them eligible for benefits or a bigger check.