Between 2008 and 2019, approximately 26% of people with disabilities were living in poverty, which is over twice the percentage of non-disabled persons. Yet Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides benefits to elderly, disabled, and blind Americans, fails to provide adequate relief. In 2021, according to CNN, “the maximum monthly SSI benefit is $794 per individual, or $1,191 per married couple where both individuals qualify for the program.” Those maximum benefit amounts fell below the national poverty level.
Aside from providing inadequate relief, SSI is currently structured in a way that discourages possible recipients from engaging in part-time work or saving money. As Stacy Braverman Cloyd, director of policy and administrative advocacy at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, told CNN, “The people who receive SSI essentially get a 50% tax on their income above $65.” Additionally, individuals are ineligible if they have over $2,000 in assets, while couples are ineligible if they have over $3,000.
SSI’s deficits persist largely because Congress has not updated key aspects of the program since the 1980s. Therefore, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is leading Senate Democrats to re-introduce the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act. The Act would:
- Increase benefits by 31%
- Raise the asset cutoffs to $10,000 and $20,000 for individuals and couples respectively
- Allow individuals to earn up to $399 a month from working
- Allow individuals to earn up to $123 a month in assistance from other sources such as Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and pension payments.
You can support the Act by signing this petition.
To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:
- Raise Minimum Wages for Eldercare and Homecare Workers
- Stop Suing People for Medical Debt During the Pandemic
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