“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr. – I have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World.
There is something to be said about doing the right thing!
To be eligible for SSI, a person has to have low income and low assets (less than $2,000). This “ancient” (est. 1937) Social Security Insurance (SSI) eligibility qualification that a person has to have low income and low assets that are less than $2000 is an unfair and outdated statute. It is something that MUST be changed especially for true economic development of millions of people with disabilities. Economic development is a policy intervention endeavor with aims of economic and the social well-being of people. Public policy experts have proven that this work would have to be done through a mixture of public policy and legislative work, there is no one cure for providing or increasing this level. Recently it has been reported through the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee that 1 in 3 persons with disabilities lives in poverty. (see information below)
Currently there is legislation that is up for a possible vote this week in either or both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate that, when it was crafted and advocated by many, was a good piece of legislation. But as with many Acts that come to the floor for a vote, there were changes that rearranged, eliminated and/or diminished the number of people with disabilities it could have assisted. In it’s current form, and with no edited language provided to advocates for review, it is now a “not so good” piece of legislation set forth to change lives.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was created with the foundation of community integration for all people with disabilities. This legislation as written today is not about economic development for ALL people with disabilities. It will assist few if any families of people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds whether they are of lower socio-economic status or from communities of color.
If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? – Sojourner Truth – December 1851 (discussing the rights of the crowd)
As the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently stated “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” It is our duty to bring forth the truth to the leaders who are making decisions that will alter society. Congress has done a great job in the process of moving this legislation forward, with the information provided to them. Advocates have done a phenomenal job as well, again with the information presented to them. Is this truly the only opportunity for change in the SSI system?
The advocacy and policy work done in Washington, DC is accomplished on a platform of opportunities set forth to honor, respect and uplift the community of persons with disabilities. This most important work being done is not to placate Congress, the Administration or any others in leadership positions. There are times to be grateful for positive outcomes worked for, to debate things that are not and to let that discern be conveyed to our representatives and leaders.
This advocacy and policy work is done with a sacred trust given upon many by a higher being and all the community of people with disabilities, their families, friends and others. It is encouraging to see that two of the largest cross disability advocacy organizations have decided not to support the current changes in this legislation and brought forth their concerns to Congress. Is the passage of a piece of legislation more important than a commitment to the cause and the community of people with disabilities?
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Martin Luther King Jr. – A Testament of Hope: The Writings and Speech.
Links from the post:
United States Senate HELP Committee Report: Fulfilling the Promise: Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities