Dec 3, 2016

Poverty High Among Social Security Disability Recipients

Click on each part to view full size. From the Social Security Bulletin.
      Sorry this is divided into two parts. It extended over two pages in the article.
     SPM stands for Supplemental Poverty Measure, an alternate method for defining poverty.


Anonymous said...

In other news, grass is green.

If you are unable to work and relying on a monthly check of $700-$ are living in poverty.

Anonymous said...


Your comment ignores the fact many with disabilities prefer to work, but so many of their employers refuse to provide adequate reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, even when it clearly would not be an undue burden for them to do so. Look at SA 27's situation. The very Agency responsible for adjudicating SSA Disability claims has adamantly refused her adequate reasonable accommodation for more than a decade, and continues to litigate the matter despite the settlement in the Jantz class action disability case. Thus, nothing has changed since Jantz, other than taxpayers footed millions in attorney fees.

Despite the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, it is nearly impossible for an employee with a disability whose employer refuses an adequate reasonable accommodation to litigate the issue in the legal system. Thus, it is rare the employer is held accountable for denying a reasonable accommodation which would not have been an undue burden for them to do so in the first place. So, what's a disabled employee whose been forced out of their job/career to do?

Many will apply for SSA Disability, and whether they are awarded benefits is a crap shoot at best. SSA will employ VE's who will identify jobs which allegedly exist in the national economy, but in reality, no longer exist because of technology, or the jobs identified by the VE exist hundreds of miles away from where the claimant resides, and with their health issues, they cannot reasonably be expected to pick up and move, although that doesn't matter where SSA disability is concerned. Plus, we all know no one will hire them anyway due to their known disability. Of course, applying for SSA Disability would not have been necessary had the claimants employer who forced them out provided the reasonable accommodation which would not have been an undue burden in the first place.

Obviously, this isn't the circumstances of all SSA disability claimants, but it occurs at such a level of frequency that perhaps the legal system needs to seriously consider better enforcement options when it comes to employers, especially large employers like Federal agencies and corporations, who refuse to provide an adequate reasonable accommodation when it clearly would not be an undue burden on them to do so.

Anonymous said...

Reasonable Accommodations is not a free pass. We have to look at the undue hardship to the employer and the fact that if the disability is interfering with an "essential duty" (or function) the employer does not have to make RA. The ADA can be slanted to the employer benefit quite often (an effort to protect smaller employers). A united effort by those with disability to reform and strengthen ADA in favor of those with disability would help greatly.

Educating employers on hiring the disabled would assist as well. We are also seeing age discrimination in hiring.

Unfortunately the program cannot afford and is not designed to keep people from poverty, we simply cannot afford to move the income higher.


Over 25 million Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure—living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($29,425 per year for a single person). These older adults struggle with rising housing and health care bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, and job loss. For older adults who are above the poverty level, one major adverse life event can change today’s realities into tomorrow’s troubles.
• One-third of senior households has no money left over each month or is in debt after meeting essential expenses. (Institute on Assets and Social Policy)
• In 2013, 61.3% of households headed by an adult aged 60+ had some form of debt. Among senior households with debt, the median total debt was $40,900. (Federal Reserve Board)

Anonymous said...

@10:45 stated, "Reasonable Accommodations is not a free pass. We have to look at the undue hardship to the employer and the fact that if the disability is interfering with an "essential duty" (or function) the employer does not have to make RA."

I agree, RA's are not a free pass, but far too many employer's are not being held accountable inndetermining what is an "Undue Burden." For example, in my (SA 27"s) case, there is no way the Agency can argue the cost of retaining a private contractor to type my dictation, or having support staff again in the field offices to perform such work, is any more of an undue burden than than the cost of relocating an ODAR Hearings Office near the former Atlanta ROCALJ’s home in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta, inconvenient to no one but him. How much do you think this cost taxpayers? What about the continued cost of failing to rein in and hold accountable a powerful ALJ in a management position whom the Agency already knows has a demonstrated track record of Discriminatory personnel practices, especially against those with disabilities, not to mention encouraging managers below him to engage in illegal Retaliation and other Prohibited Personnel Practices, even to the point of pitting coworkers against targeted employees, and turning a deaf ear to the unspeakable harassment those targeted were subjected to in and outside the office over a period of several years. How much in litigation fees has and does this continue to cost the Agency? The litigation over this specific RA issue going on for more than a decade now. This is one of the many things I reference when I indicate top Agency officials and managers are incompetent. What Agency top official, or manager in their right mind, especially knowing my stellar performance history, would decide that litigating this issue of providing a typist to type my dictation is an undue burden on the Agency, but relocating an ODAR Hearings Office to placate a former ROCALJ; not holding those whom they know engaged in misconduct and wrongdoing accountble in any way; and granting ridiculously high bonuses to the tune of $60K to SES employees whose ability to run the Agency has been an abject failure is NOT an undue burden? Ths is just plain nuts, and one of many reasons why the swamp must be drained.

Moreover, my RA request was to perform my SA job as I successfully did at a stellar level for many years. I fully converted to the use of a computer in my SA work. I simply cannot persisitently type 8 hrs. day/40 hrs. week. Further, I told the Agency this from the very start, and they told me not to worry about. Just do your best. There will not be production quotas. They also had plenty of opportunities to place someone with my excellent credentials in a position which would not require the degree of persisitent typing, but they did not - Just like they refused to do with all the disabled employees in the Jantz class action disability case. The Jantz case revealed SSA/ODAR has a SYSTEMIC ISSUE concerning disability discrimination.

Anonymous said...


There's also ther cost of the unrealistic high salaries SSA/ODAR paid when they decided in 2000 to promote support staff through the ranks and tried to groom them to be attorneys. The vast majority were promoted without having to demonstrate any ability to write, and regardless of educational background. So, those promoted and tried to be groomed into attorneys had anywhere from a high school/GED to a BS degree and all varying levels in between. Yet, they were paid the same salary as an attorney. So, don't insult our intelligence that retaining a typist to type SA 27's dictation was an Undue Burden to SSA/ODAR, but all those attorney salaries paid to non-attorneys promoted through the ranks starting with the roll out of HPI in the year 2000 was not an Undue Burden? Many of the top Agency officials and managers responsible for this fiasco still run the Agency, while others (favorites) were selected for those power positions by former top officials and managers who concocted such nonsense and have since retired.

Anonymous said...

Does every effing post have to revolve around SA27? If so this is no longer a viable blog and I have to look elsewhere for information.

Anonymous said...


What's wrong. Is it starting to get hot in the kitchen? SA 27's situation is a reflection of greater societal issues concerning the disabled, and how the very Agency which adjudicates SSA disability cases treats its own employees who develop a disability without any dignity.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on the situation, with some unique insights and no mention of SA 27.

Anonymous said...


Stop disparaging SA 27. As if what the Agency has already done to her is not enough . . .

Anonymous said...

No heat in the kitchen too many bats in the belfry!

Anonymous said...


This being your best response, it certainly appears it's starting to get too hot in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Social Security is nothing but a over bloated morass acting like those who have to apply as disabled are not worthy for benefits. The money belong to the tax payers and yes includes those who are disabled and not to those who are working in or running SS. It seems that this is the way most everything works, that the workers who are taxpayers always the short of the stick when it was then=m who provided the big stick in the first place. This applies to both private and public entities who forget how they all got to even exist. and that includes all who are in congress, whether they be congress members, senate or president.

Anonymous said...

Employers don't want to provide ADA, voc rehab, workers compensation or THEIR part in the SSDI for injured workers. Workers are just a means to an end and That also goes cor anyone with an already existing disability. Corporations are now global with immense profit and are callous to the fact of how their decisions will affect their employees. Most don't care one way or another and the same for the SSA. it is an organization funded by workers and the SSA forgets why they are really there and how they got there. A bloated morass that needs changes and much of it is just as corrupt as any other corporation or govt agency because govt is pro business and think of it selves as their own corporation making itself bigger and bigger off of the workers taxes all to justify i's own existence as are all other govt, whether it be local, state or federal and why as workers who pay the bills can't get what they paid for. The SSA needs a rude awakening as to what it is supposed to really do for those who pay for it to exist.