• July 18th, 2024
  • Thursday, 06:13:20 PM

Bill Aims to Help Seniors, People With Disabilities

Photo: Kevin Beaty provided by Prospero Latino Ean Thomas Tafoya

Representatives Grijalva and Elissa Slotkin reintroduced the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act this week, following the release of the latest Census Bureau report on poverty which shows household income has risen at its slowest pace in four years. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides assistance to people who are disabled or elderly and have low income, and has gone largely unchanged since 1972. The SSI Restoration Act makes necessary updates to the program to keep people, including children with disabilities and their families, out of extreme poverty.

“On the heels of a census report that shows the poverty rate slightly rising for seniors who are already facing unprecedented challenges, we need to take a careful look at what’s working and what’s not,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The Supplemental Security Income program has succeeded in serving as a last resort to keep millions of elderly and individuals with disabilities out of the harsh realities of poverty, but far too many are being rejected from receiving the assistance they need simply because the program hasn’t kept pace with inflation. Modest updates will provide needed stability to those with disabilities and seniors who are continuing to struggle to afford basic necessities, such as skyrocketing costs of medication.”

“This issue is one I have heard about directly from autism advocates and families in our district, particularly parents preparing for children with disabilities to transition into adulthood,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin said. “I’m so proud to introduce a bill that can help ease the burden these restrictions are currently imposing on families trying to access benefits through this program. This bill brings the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program’s outdated limits up to speed with inflation — a common-sense adjustment that will make a huge difference for individuals and families caring for someone with disabilities.”

This bill helps restore a program that plays a pivotal role in the security of millions of Americans including over a million children.

“Justice in Aging is proud to support the SSI Restoration Act. The Act would restore the original intent of the SSI program and fix outdated rules and limits—some of which haven’t changed in over 40 years—that create unnecessary financial hardships for the people the program was meant to assist. Low-income seniors and people with disabilities depend on SSI to pay the rent, buy food and medicine, and meet basic needs. These updates to the SSI program would lift barriers that keep out people who desperately need help.”

“Parents and guardians of special needs children face huge challenges every day, in caring for them and facing the stress of trying to ensure a secure future for them — they do not need the additional challenge of antiquated restrictions,” said Craig Brown and Linda Ronan Brown, parents of children with special needs in Clarkston, MI. “This bill contains common sense changes recognizing that current SSI levels don’t come close to meeting basic needs for people with disabilities or the elderly. For families, our reality is that we can’t afford to pay for all the needs our loved ones with disabilities have, but we can help – if we are allowed to, without endangering their SSI and Medicaid. Being able to save $10,000 means they have a chance to handle financial challenges like if food stamps are cancelled, if they need dental work, or if new glasses or a hearing aid not covered by Medicaid. The current $2,000 asset limit makes it virtually impossible for my sons to own their own home and be able to save for property taxes or major repairs and maintenance.”