Supplamental Security Insurance And Congress

Time did a story on July 22nd about Democrats and a plan to boost Supplemental Security Insurance funding to increase payments to poor elderly and disabled individuals. I would really like to see topics like this discussed more on TYT and I would like to know what others think. Right now any disability that impacts an individuals ability to work is a poverty sentence. SSDI is forced poverty due to the insanely low payment levels and restrictions on assets. You cannot own a home, a car, or have savings. If you have a partner, their income is included in calculations of income toward whether or not you may receive SSI or SSDI.

This is particularly personal for me. I am disabled. Working full-time means that I cannot function outside of work. I have no quality of life at all. This is not a fair expectation for anyone. I eventually wind up incredibly sick and have to take sick leave, whether I get paid for it or not. Essentially, I work myself into further disability.

I was classified as qualifying for disability but denied because they disagreed with when I became disabled. Yup, that’s a reason for denial. So is the income from my spouse. The real frustration is that I want to work, but need to be able to work part-time. I also believe that I deserve to be able to build up a savings, own a home, own a car, etc, just like everyone else. I should not have to live in abject poverty simply because I have chronic illness.

I wrote to my members of congress to support positive changes to SSI and got the following response from the office of Jack Bergman (I will not honor that man with the term “Representative” as he does not actually do that job):

" My name is Colin, and I work for Congressman Jack Bergman. After reading your note about improving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Congressman wanted me to reach out to you directly.

Congressman Bergman is committed to improving the federal programs which provide critical benefits for Americans across the country. From Medicare to SSI, these programs serve Michiganders best when they are operating efficiently and are free from waste, fraud, and abuse. The Congressman will keep your thoughts in mind about the SSI program and continue to consider solutions that help families across our state and country.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to the Congressman through his website. Thank you!


Colin Yokanovich

Legislative Correspondent

Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-10)

566 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515

Office: 202-422-2458"

The GOP’s idea of helping individuals like me is to REDUCE funding to SSI/SSDI. This is their response to someone actually struggling because of disability. Responses like this SHOULD be making the news.


Sounds like responses I’ve gotten from my representatives (Mitch McConnell & Rand Paul & Brett Guthrie - God help me)!


Hi, I have a lot of experience with disability. I have a condition which sounds similar to yours. I agree with your message. However, I think there is some confusion about the difference with SSI and SSDI and what you can own.

SSI is a program for people with not enough work quarters. This one is income restricted. You can own a house and a car. However, you can’t have more than about $2k in assets beyond that. That means no ability to have savings. However, you do qualify for many programs like food stamps, heating assistance, free phone, etc. Your household’s income is also counted. For this reason, couples may choose to not get married, or even get divorced, and live in separate households. Yep, it’s crazy.

If you have SSDI, you had enough work quarters to qualify. You paid into the system and purchased disability insurance as you were working (listed as FICA tax on your paystub). You can own a house and a car, and you can have as many assets as you want. So you can have savings. You could actually be a millionaire and get SSDI. You get paid at around the poverty line. For SSI you get paid about half of SSDI. You can be on both at the same time if your income is kept below the $2k limit.

I qualified for both, but chose not to take SSI because it is designed to keep you in poverty.

If you’ve gotten denied for disability, you should hire a lawyer. The lawyer will only get paid if you win. He or she will take their fee out of your back pay. It’s time sensitive, so don’t wait around to address this.

ps. I think in Scandinavian countries people on disability get paid the same as a living wage, so around $30k instead of half that or less.

pps. Your date of disability is the last date you worked full time. A lawyer should be able to help you determine your date of disability.