Institutional Rules Explorer

Comparing policies across countries:  Public Old-Age Social Assistance
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
Granted to all residents over age 65 who have low income (or over 60 if unable to work, mothers who were manual workers, war veterans and other specified persons):
  • Must stay for more than 6 months a year in mainland France
  • Means-tested
Statutory retirement age
Age 65
Measure used for adjustment
CPI
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
  • Persons at least the statutory retirement age (see Table);
  • Means-tested: Individual’s own income and assets and those of their spouse or cohabiting partner are not sufficient to meet their needs under social assistance law (see note below). Income is defined as gross income (including old-age pension or reduced earning capacity pension) less social security contributions and taxes. Children or parents who are legally required to support the entitled individual unless their annual income is in excess of €100,000 (Further verification recommended). There is no presumption that individuals who live in a shared household with relatives or in-laws receive help with living expenses from them. However, any actual help received is taken into account against the standard rates.

Note: Standard needs include food, accommodation, clothing, body care, household appliances, heating, and everyday personal necessities (Section 27a, SGB XII). The latter include reasonable expenditure on relations with the outside world and participation in cultural life. Necessary living expanses equal the amount of standard rate (See Table), which is a fixed amount paid each month to cover standard needs.
Statutory retirement age
See Table
Measure used for adjustment
Adjusted to local conditions

Note: If there is no adjustment made, the standard rate is adjusted according to prices of goods and services that are relevant to standard needs on January 1st each year.
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
Social assistance benefits

  1. A permanent allowance (zasiłek stały wyrównawczy) is granted to a person of age without income or with incomes lower than the statutory threshold who:
    • independently runs a household and is incapable of work as a result of age or completely incapable of work (e.g. as a result of moderate or significant degree of disability). His/her income may not exceed the statutory threshold for a single person (See Table); or
    • lives in a family and is incapable of work as a result of age or completely incapable of work. In case of an individual in a family, the income of the person entitled to the allowance and the income as calculated per family member is taken into account. In both cases this income may not exceed the statutory threshold for a person in family (See Table).

  2. A periodic allowance (zasiłek okresowy) is for people and families without income or with incomes lower than the statutory threshold (Table7), who have insufficient financial means to meet their vital needs. If the financial situation has been caused by loss of work, the person may be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Note: The allowance is not payable if the applicant is already entitled to: 1) social pension, 2) nursing benefit, 3) special care allowance, 4) additional payment to family allowance as a result of bringing up a child on his/her own, 5) carer allowance.
Statutory retirement age
N/A
Measure used for adjustment
Automatic adjustment based on the annual consumer price index and annual national average wage index.
 United Kingdom
All details  
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
Income support (IS)
  • Paid to support people on a low income who are not in full-time employment (working 16+ hours per week) and who do not have to be 'available for and actively seeking work’, such as lone parents with young children and the retired. Must be aged 60 or over to qualify for Retirement pensioner’s Income support.

Minimum income guarantee (MIG)
  • Awarded to low income pensioners aged 60 or over

Pension credit: Awarded to low income pensioners who reached the SRA
  • The guarantee credit is available to anyone aged above the female SRA (see Table, Table).
  • Savings Credit is available to people who reached the SRA before April 6, 2016.
Statutory retirement age
See Table and Table
Measure used for adjustment
Benefits are adjusted annually according to changes in the consumer price index from the previous September.
 United States
All details  
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
General eligibility requirements
  • Aged: An "aged" person is someone who is age 65 or older;
  • Blind: A "blind" person is someone whose vision, with use of a correcting lens, is 20/200 or less in the better eye or who has tunnel vision of 20 degrees or less. There is no minimum age limit (for converted blind recipients); OR
  • Disabled: 1) "disabled" person age 18 or older is someone who meets the definition of disability for adults under Social Security law; 2) "disabled" person under the age of 18 is someone who meets the definition of disability for children under Social Security law.

Note: A "disabled" person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Eligibility Criteria Based on Need
  • Income: In order to receive SSI benefits, the monthly countable income should be less than the current Federal benefit rate (FBR). The FBR for an eligible couple is approximately one and one half as much as that for an individual. These amounts are set by law and are subject to annual increases based on cost-of-living adjustments (See Table).
  • In order to receive SSI benefits, one cannot own countable real or personal property (including cash, liquid assets and real or personal property that can be converted to cash to obtain food and shelter) in excess of a specified amount at the beginning of each month. For an individual with a spouse (regardless of the spouse’s eligibility for SSI), the applicable limit is 1.5 times as much as that for an individual without a spouse. These limits are set by law, and they are not subject to regular cost-of-living adjustments. But they are subject to change (the limits since January 2009 have been USD 2,000 for an individual and USD 3,000 for a couple)
  • Income and resources of people responsible for the recipient's welfare are also considered (called "deeming"). It does not matter if money is actually provided to an eligible individual for deeming to apply. There are four types of situations where income and resources are deemed:
    1. From an ineligible spouse to an eligible individual: When an eligible individual lives in the same household with an ineligible spouse, the income and resources of the ineligible spouse are deemed available to the eligible individual.
    2. From a parent to a child under age 18: A child under age 18 is subject to deeming from a natural or adoptive parent or a stepparent living in the same household. However, if a child lives only with the stepparent due to the death or divorce of the natural parent, the stepparent is not considered a parent for deeming purposes.
    3. From a sponsor to an alien: The income and resources of an individual who sponsors an alien's entry into the U.S. (by signing an affidavit of support) are considered in determining the alien's eligibility for SSI. The income and resources of the sponsor's spouse are also considered when the spouse is living with the sponsor. This process is called sponsor-to-alien deeming. Deeming applies whether or not the alien lives with the sponsor.
    4. From an essential person to an eligible qualified individual: An eligible qualified individual with an essential person in the household receives an amount of SSI that is increased by an increment for the essential person. All of the essential person's income is deemed to the qualified individual.

Note( Table): Social Security Annual Statistics Report. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect01.html

Terms and Definitions
  1. Types of income for SSI purposes:
    • Earned Income: wages, net earnings from self–employment, certain royalties, honoraria, and sheltered workshop payments
    • Unearned Income: all income that is not earned such as Social Security benefits, pensions, State disability payments, unemployment benefits, interest income, dividends and cash from friends and relatives
    • In-Kind Income: food, shelter, or both

  2. Countable income is the amount left over after:
    • Eliminating from consideration all items that are not income; and
    • Applying all appropriate exclusions to the items that are income.

  3. An SSI essential person is someone who lives with an SSI beneficiary and provides essential care. This could be a child taking care of a parent, or a live-in caretaker.

For more details, see https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.21/handbook-2167.html
Statutory retirement age
Age 65
Measure used for adjustment
The maximum benefit is subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA's). The COLA (See Table) increases the FBR effective in January based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index.