If anyone in New York has been denied Social Security Disability benefits, they know how devastating it can be. Unable to work, but not considered disabled enough to receive help from the government, a denial can leave anyone feeling frustrated. Whether judges are always correct in their decisions, however, is now coming into question.
Many people in New York live with developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, many people in our state do not have a good understanding of these disabilities, leaving some either afraid or unsure of how to interact with those who have a developmental disability. Although this in itself is a problem that should be addressed, it can be especially problematic when people who are charged with protecting our communities don't know what to do. Fortunately, this may be changing soon in New York.
Last week we discussed possible changes in Social Security benefits that could negatively impact families in New York who rely on Supplemental Security Income. The potential changes were suspected to be part of the president's budget proposal. He proposed changing the way Social Security benefits are adjusted annually with inflation. In a system known as chained CPI, those receiving benefits would receive smaller increases each year, leaving some who rely on programs like Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI worried.
What does Supplemental Security Income mean to you? For many New Yorkers, it means they can put food on the table and pay for their prescriptions. Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that provides compensation to individuals who have been severely injured or are disabled to the point that working is not an option. It is a needs-based program, and many people rely heavily or completely on the compensation they receive to make ends meet. If you asked these people what would happen if the government decided to start giving them less, it's likely many would worry that it would be impossible to get by.
New York families who have children with disabilities know the importance of well-rounded special education programs in our schools. Depending on a student's disability, his or her learning can be severely limited in a traditional classroom setting. Special education programs give these children the opportunity they deserve to succeed in school. Fortunately, it seems that the current administration -- and many of our country's lawmakers -- agree.