Definition of Federal Benefit Rate
Supplemental Security Income benefits are based on the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). This rate is linked to the consumer price index and is the maximum amount paid to SSI recipients, who include the aged, blind, or disabled who have very limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration only makes a cost of living adjustment for SSI recipients if the CPI increases. Most adjustments are made in January or February. For instance, in January 2013, the SSA increased SSI payments by 1.7%. The year before the increase was 3.6%.
Many claimants ask why their SSI benefit is so low. It is because the Federal Benefit Rate is the maximum which a claimant can receive for SSI. The SSI benefit can also be reduced under some conditions. For instance, if the claimant is receiving income, if their spouse's income is too high or they are living with someone providing food or shelter the benefits may be reduced. Some states provide a supplemental payment for SSI, and in these state there are SSI recipients who receive more than the Federal Benefit Rate.
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