The SSI Fix Part 1

The United States gives over $4 billion in tax breaks and credits to big oil companies every year. These are companies that combined make over $200 billion in profits each year. Do they really need tax breaks? And remember that there are only a handful of them.

Each month we give someone with a permanent disability roughly $500. This is meant to pay for their rent, food, medications, utilities, etc. And then there is no extra assistance helping them go to college. And the rules for them being able to work are extremely complicated and can end up in their losing their health insurance (Medicaid).

Now imagine if that annual $4 billion we give to big oil was diverted to assist people on SSI in achieving a four-year college degree. These people (those actually able to go to college) would then have the ability to get good paying jobs. And many just might want to work in the public sector.

SSI is a program created by President Nixon designed to offer support to people with life-long disabilities. The program was meant to give these individuals enough of a monthly income so that they can pay their rent and other life expenses. This way they could focus on their health and and medical issues without having to worry about where their next meal was going to come from.

Today SSI has been turned into a program that forces people to choose between health care and food. Many people on SSI are homeless; suffering from severe mental health issues which then lead to severe substance abuse issues for most of them.

This system has to change.

The fact is that in California more than 1.3 million people are on SSI. The majority of these people have developmental and intellectual disabilities. The majority of people in SSI will never be able to attend a four-year university. And the majority will never be able to achieve gainful employment.

But for those that can, there needs to be financial assistance available to help them achieve their dreams. For someone living on SSI to have $100,000 in college debt shows just how messed up our system is.

At the same time there needs to be quality housing options available. What would be so wrong about diverting money from the Section 8 program to help those on SSI who are not able to get employment? What is wrong about diverting welfare and food stamp funding so that they go to people that truly are not able to take care of themselves?

And what would be wrong with taking away corporate welfare and giving those funds to the people President Nixon was so dedicated to helping?

Some dramatic changes need to be made and I am ready to start the fight for them. I am tired of seeing people with severe disabilities living on the streets. I am tired of seeing people with developmental disabilities teated like 3rd class citizens. And I am sick and tired of people like myself being denied a University education.