In 2014, 15 percent of the U.S population lived in poverty. For Americans living with a disability, the rate is almost double at 29 percent. The reasons for this are manifold: Prejudice, stigma, and lower educational attainment. Furthermore, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made it more challenging for them to find a job. When the act was made law in 1990, half of all disabled people had work. By 2010, this percentage had dropped to 41 percent.
The ADA requirement to provide reasonable accommodation to workers to enable them to do their job has led some employers to turn down disabled applicants for fear that costs or insurance will be too high.
SSI: Providing Benefits to People with Limited Resources
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides financial assistance to disabled people and those over 65 years old who are unemployed. If the applicant was previously employed but could no longer work due to disability, he or she may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This insurance protects workers against loss of income due to disability. Only those with enough work credits, however, may receive benefits if they become unable to work.
For SSI – The disability is expected to last for at least a year and will prevent the applicant from working. He or she has little to no income, and don’t have possessions or savings worth more than $2,000. Married couples must not have joint savings of more than $3,000.
For SSDI – Applicants 31 years and older must have worked at least five years within the last decade and paid into the social security system. Their disability must make them unable to continue to do their job or seek future employment.
By applying for these benefits, people with disabilities may experience relief from poverty, especially in light of unemployment.