On January 1, 1974, the federal law (PL 92-603) which established the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program became effective. This program replaced the state administered programs of Old Age Assistance (OAA), Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled (PTD), and Aid to the Blind (AB) with a federally funded and administered program with uniform, nationwide eligibility requirements and a base level of payments. Prior to January 1974, the cases of persons receiving an OAA, PTD, or AB grant were prepared for this transfer to the SSI program. It became apparent that all the cases could not be transferred (i.e. converted) to SSI, primarily because some persons had too much income to qualify. Therefore, in order to insure that none of the persons who received a cash OAA, PTD, or AB grant in December 1973 would lose any income as a result of the new SSI program, several state and federal laws were passed. The laws required the states to maintain a December 1973 income level for those recipients. If the SSI payment did not do this, the state would make supplemental payments. These laws guarantee a December 1973 income level or Eligible Income Level (EIL) to all persons who legitimately received a cash OAA, PTD, or AB grant in December 1973 and either were ineligible for SSI because of income or would suffer a loss of income due to conversion to SSI. The guaranteed income level is the recipient’s CONVERSION RIGHT.
To determine the December 1973 Eligible Income Level, the gross earned and unearned income (excluding all income from DMH) was added to the amount of OAA, PTD, or AB payment received in December 1973. If the SSI payment when added to all income equalled or exceeded this amount, no additional state payment was required (SSI-Only). If the SSI payment when added to all income was less than this amount, a state supplemental payment was required to make up the difference (SSI-SP). If the recipient was not eligible for an SSI payment, a state supplemental payment was required to keep the recipient’s income at the December 1973 level (SP-Only). Individuals who were eligible for a state supplemental payment were afforded certain “guarantees” due to their “conversion” status. As a result, we have two types of conversion cases: SSI-SP and SP-Only. Supplemental (cash) payments for SP-Only and SSI-SP persons are paid entirely from State Funds.
This manual deals only with CONVERSION recipients. That is, those persons who legitimately received a CASH OAA, PTD, or AB grant in December 1973 and who were “converted” to SSI-SP or SP-Only. The determination of continued SSI eligibility for these recipients, as well as initial eligibility for new SSI applicants, is the responsibility of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The eligibility requirements for SSI are very generally outlined in Appendix D. The maximum SSI payments are also listed in Appendix D.