Being part of the Social Security Administration’s welfare programs, Supplemental Security Income serves as a safety net for anyone who qualifies for SSA benefits to rely on, providing low-income Americans with access to sufficient funds to keep them well-fed and warm for months on end.
The only qualifications for the program are that you have already reached your full retirement age or that you’ve got a qualifying disability, which you can find on a list compiled by the SSA.
At the time, the max benefits one can receive through the program are still less than the federal poverty level, practically putting anyone who relies on them in a less than favorable position, unless they were receiving benefits through other programs.
Unfortunately, all these rules also mean that the SSA is highly cautious when awarding benefits, including to disabled individuals, and you’ll have to go through a lengthy legitimation process to collect the money you’re entitled to.
Things to take note of
The US saw a major spike in disabled workers losing their jobs as we entered this economic downturn, and one could argue it’s a recurring pattern that happens every time this country enters a suboptimal financial period.
Disproportionate layoffs from workplaces are a common thing, and the disabled community is no strangers to feeling like they’re being a burden, which is far from fair to the workers themselves.
Of course, the outbreak of COVID-19 didn’t exactly aid these disabled individuals in leading their lives, and a lot of them lost their only source of income due to the never-ending lockdown periods.
Because of this, those experiencing any form of income loss or job loss were 3x as likely to apply for benefits through the SSA, although this number is a massive downgrade compared to last year’s numbers.
What is SSI?
Originally created in 1972, the Supplemental Security Income program was designed as a form of last resort for low-income families struggling to make ends meet.
It was relegated to Americans that are either disabled or have reached full retirement age, although the word “disabled” was still up for a much more detailed definition at the time.
This carried over into the modern age, and the SSA has now outlined a number of different disabilities that could qualify an individual for benefits, which can be somewhat discriminatory towards certain persons.
It’s also important to add that the SSI and the SSDI are two completely different programs, as the latter is intended for persons that were previously part of the workforce but lost their ability to work due to the disability they’d begun to face.
That being said, receiving benefits from the SSI also means you’re entitled to Medicaid assistance in most states, whereas you’d have to wait 24 hours for your SSDI to qualify you.
Who’s on the receiving end?
At the time, almost 8 million Americans are making use of the SSI benefits, 57% of which are nonelderly adults whereas a single quarter are seniors, with all the rest being children that receive SSI benefits.
Of course, race does play a role in one’s approach to finances, meaning that Black and Latino communities are much more likely to actually be in need of SSI benefits rather than White Communities, although there are always exceptions to the rule.
Another thing that often comes up in discussion is that 40% of all the nonelderly applicants had only received their disability on December 2019, only months from when the COVID-19 virus began spreading through the continents like wildfire.
The most “valued” disabilities are those that impact your physical state, although some may receive benefits off of nothing more than a mental health issue.
One entire quarter of all the non-adult beneficiaries has some form of developmental or intellectual disability, although there’s little to point out just how much of that is true.
Disabled Americans have it hard, and this is particularly visible for the low-income part of the population, as they’re struggling to make ends meet and keep food on the table.
This devotion to a cause is what helped so many financially unstable individuals make their way to an entire fortune they’ve created by themselves, and you could potentially learn a thing or two from them.