The Census data on disabled individuals in the United States paints a disturbing picture. An estimated 11 to 12 percent of people in the United States have a disability that the Census defines as “serious.” The Census restricts its questions on disability to people over the age of 15, so these percentages largely refer to adults in the population. Unfortunately, many adults with serious medical conditions will not be able to work and generate the income that they require to ensure their basic needs are met.
While the Social Security Disability benefits program is supposed to help these disabled individuals, the fact is that there are a lot of people falling through the cracks. Statistics show that as many as one disabled adult out of every five in America is currently living in poverty. In some cases, financial struggles are caused by low disability payments and/or high medical expenses. In other situations, however, a disabled person will be denied SSD benefits that he needs in order to survive financially without being able to have a job.
An experienced Boston disability benefits lawyer can help those who are disabled and in need of benefits. Your attorney can assist with the initial application process or with an appeal if the benefits you require are denied.
Disabled Adults Face Struggles
The poverty rate in the United States exceeds 21 percent for disabled people overall. Females are the ones who struggle the most, with 23.8 percent of disabled females in poverty compared with 18.6 percent of males. African American disabled individuals also have an exceptionally high poverty rate of 36 percent. These calculations are made after factoring in SSI and SSDI income, which suggests either that the income is not doing enough to alleviate poverty or that not enough people are receiving SSD income to bring poverty rates down.
Those with intellectual disability tend to have the highest poverty rate at 28.4 percent. Qualifying for SSD benefits with an intellectual disability, such as difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering things, can sometimes be especially hard. Unlike many physical ailments, there are a lot of intellectual disabilities that cannot be proven by clear and conclusive medical testing. Whenever a disability claim is based on subjective data, this can invite more scrutiny from the SSA as to whether the condition is real or exaggerated.
The high poverty levels for all disabled people suggest that this is a serious public health problem that needs to be addressed. The government is trying in some ways to provide more relief to the disabled. For example, recent reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) will be providing $120 million in funding to state housing agencies to provide rental-assistance to low income people with disabilities who are at high risk of homelessness or who are transitioning out of an institutional environment. Of course, this is not much money considering the high poverty rates of the homeless.
Yet, even as paltry efforts are made to improve things in some areas, SSD remains hard to qualify for and could be getting harder amid largely baseless allegations that the disability program is being mismanaged and providing benefits to those who aren’t truly deserving. The fact is that these efforts to credit SSD are simply not true, and those who are disabled should learn about their rights for themselves and call a lawyer for help in making a benefits claim.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Jobless Don’t Seek SSDI Benefits as Default, Dec. 15, 2014, Boston SSDI Attorney Blog