SSI and Medicaid expansion for US territories included in Build Back Better draft text

by Oct 28, 2021General0 comments

Earlier today Congress released the draft text of the proposed budget reconciliation bill, including what would be historic expansions of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and Medicaid to residents of US territories. If Congress acts based on this draft language, it could mean monthly SSI checks of up to $794 directly to more than 300,000 of the most vulnerable residents of US territories. The proposed Medicaid expansion would bring these programs much closer to full parity, greatly expanding healthcare availability for low-income territorial residents.

“If the proposed expansions to SSI and Medicaid are enacted into law, this would represent a truly historic step towards equality for the 3.5 million US citizens who call the territories home,” said Neil Weare, President, and Founder of Equally American, which has long advocated for expanding SSI and Medicaid in the territories. “We still need to keep pushing though to make sure these proposals are actually enacted into law.”

In the 1,684-page text of HR 5376, the Build Back Better Act pages 551-556 detail the proposed expansions to Medicaid, and pages 182-1684 detail the proposed changes to SSI.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve corresponded with hundreds of residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa whose lives have been severely impacted by the denial of SSI benefits to residents of the territories,” Weare added. “I’m hopeful that Congress may finally provide them the relief they’ve been seeking for so many years. But we can’t rest until this becomes law.”

Residents of US territories who may benefit from SSI are encouraged to continue sharing their stories by completing Equally American’s SSI Survey, available in English, or in Spanish. Or they may contact Equally American directly at or (202) 304-1202.