SCLC believes that every individual deserves access to a measure of income stability.
Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program. The Social Security advocacy that SCLC delivers to nearly 1,000 people each year includes advocacy for families with children and youth who live with disabilities. As the budgeting process begins to unfold in Washington D.C., we want to make you aware that we are concerned about some of the options that are being discussed because they include ideas about cutting SSI for children with disabilities.
More than 18,000 disabled children met Washington’s strict criteria to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in 2015––3,100 of whom lived in King County.1 SSI is the only federal income support available to the families of children with disabilities. Nationally, SSI lifts nearly 200,000 of the 1.2 million children who receive SSI out of deep poverty and puts them above 50 percent of the federal poverty line.
Children who receive assistance from SCLC typically have a family member, guardian or teacher who is working hard to ensure that, in addition to gaining or maintaining eligibility for SSI, the client has access to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and is gaining access to necessary treatment under Medicaid. Simply put, SCLC will fight against cuts to SSI. It impacts the health of individuals and of our communities.
At the same time that we are advocating to maintain and strengthen SSI and SSDI, we are seeking protections for people with disabilities who are homeless. SCLC is advocating against the City of Seattle’s sweeps of homeless encampments – there is no true ability for the City to offer stable housing to those who are being swept, yet. These two threads of advocacy knit together perfectly because we know that without a measure of income stability, SSI, many more people will become homeless in King County. Many of those people are children with families who are hovering just above 50 percent of the federal poverty line.
We must defend and strengthen SSI. Our friends and partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have authored the attached publication showing how SSI is a lifeline for children living with disabilities.
We invite you to read and learn something new about this important matter, and ask that your congressional representatives do the same.
Alex KF Doolittle
1 Phillips, John W.R. (2016, September). SSI Recipients by State and County, 2015. Retrieved May, 2017, from https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_sc/