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SSI Benefits for Disabled and Elderly Are Reduced Because of State Budget Deficits

By Chris Megerian/ |

 Lorraine Bordo is one of about 5,970 New Jerseyans whose SSI payments will be cut next month because the state eliminated $6.7 million in subsidies. The average cut per person is $209 monthly.

"I can’t pay my mortgage; I don’t have enough money," said Bordo, 63, of Berkeley Township. "I’m going to be in foreclosure. My whole check was going to my mortgage payment."

Supplemental Security Income, a federal program run by the Social Security Administration and handled by the Department of Human Services in New Jersey, includes both federal and state payments. Years ago, the federal government reduced benefits to couples when one of the spouses is ineligible for SSI benefits, said Nicole Brossoie, a spokeswoman for Human Services. So New Jersey decided to cover the gap with state money.

But when state officials faced an $11 billion shortfall while patching together this year’s budget, they decided to reduce the state supplement. It’s another example of how the state’s budget crisis has imperiled safety nets for the poor and elderly.

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