Did you know this about SSI? Follow-up

So after I posted this, I linked it up with some other social sites, kept talking about it with folks around me, and got some more insight.

This quote is from my friend KP from facebook

“As it is designed, the program is only supposed to provide for basic needs for those without other resources or supports. Most folks would agree that $1999 is a resource. I mostly agree with what you are saying here, but this issue has always been pretty challenging to me. Also, an individual receiving SSI who had $1999 in the bank would have 2+ months of income in the bank… this would put them WAY ahead of the vast majority of Americans.”

I think he makes a strong point by saying that $1999 is both a resource and something that many other Americans, particularly low-income ones, don’t have. I also like that he kind of flipped my example over and drew out the strengths… (like a good social worker should do. Lesson to me. šŸ™‚ )

I also got another example from a girlfriend of mine, LJ, about this problem. She was working in a residential community for autistic young adults. They were on SSI and their parents were their payees. Some months, after parents purchased the child’s needs, there was a bit of money left over. Normally, parents would save this for unexpected needs, but this provision prohibited them from doing so. Instead, they actually bought rubbish their kids didn’t really need in order to spend the check down. Other months, when their child’s needs were greater than the monthly SSI resource, they dipped into their own savingsĀ to cover it. This is something that parents regularly do – I think it’s part of parenthood – but for these parents, when will it end? Can they adequately prepare for their whole family’s needs and future? What about when the parents are gone?

I know that this is only a small part in the larger discussion of social security and entitlement programs. This example just underscores the idea that, while its vital that recipients think in terms of future stability, it is also important that programs allow them to do so.

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