Disability, Poverty, and the U.S. Government
Synopsis: No one in America, especially People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans, should live in poverty while ineffective leaders make six-figure salaries.1
Author: Thomas C Weiss Contact: Disabled World
Published: 2013-10-14 Updated: 2016-03-31
The United States of America, a nation which claims the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the, 'Gold Standard,' of Disability Rights for the world to model their own after, has millions of People with Disabilities who live in poverty. The same nation has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, yet has not ratified this crucial International Convention. For vast numbers of people who experience forms of disabilities in America, the possibility of pursuing the American Dream simply is not a reality.
The year 2011 in America found, of the 19,899,755 individuals with disabilities ages 18 to 64 years who were living in the community, 5,697,022 individuals lived in poverty - a poverty rate of 28.6 percent. In contrast, out of the 172,544,106 individuals without disabilities ages 18 to 64 years living in the community, 23,581,154 individuals lived in poverty - a poverty rate of 13.7 percent.
For People with Disabilities the highest rate of poverty in the nation was experienced in the District of Columbia at 39.4%, while the lowest rate was in New Hampshire at 20.2%. The lowest poverty gap between those who do and do not experience forms of disabilities in America was in the state of Nevada with a gap of 9.7%. The greatest gap existed in the District of Columbia with a gap of 24.7%.
Chart showing 2011 Poverty and Disability Information
The year 2010 in America found the poverty gap between people with and without forms of disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 years of age living in the community at 14.5%. In other words, the poverty gap increased half a percentage point in a single year. The largest increase in the poverty gap from 2010 to 2011 occurred in the state of Alaska where People with Disabilities experienced a 5 point increase in the poverty gap. The largest decrease in the poverty gap between people with and without forms of disabilities between 2010 and 2011 occurred in the state of South Dakota with an 8.2% point decrease.
The year 2011 also found an estimated 19.6% of people who experienced a form of disability between the ages of 21 and 64 years of age receiving SSI benefits. What this means is 3,693,300 out of 18,858,600 non-institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability in the United States received SSI benefits in 2011. The same year, an estimated 19.1% of veterans between the ages of 21 and 64 years of age reported experiencing a VA service-connected form of disability in the United States of America. In other words, 2,298,900 out of 12,049,300 non-institutionalized civilian veterans aged 21 to 64 years reported having a VA service-connected disability in the United States in 2011.
The Need for Consistency in Living
All it took to threaten the well-being of the populations mentioned above is a shutdown of the United States Government over ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats. Instead of ensuring the safety and well-being of People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans with Disabilities in America - the politicians who are supposed to be leading this nation chose to threaten even the poverty-level existences of these populations. The fact that the politicians chose to do so is quite a statement in regards to the leadership abilities of the politicians of America.
Chart showing 2011 Poverty Gap and Benefits information
The ADA is an incredibly important Disability Rights Act, yet only if the leadership of the U.S. Government chooses to uphold it. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is as well, yet again - only if governments choose to uphold it. The time has come for comprehensive legislation guaranteeing the safety and well-being of at-risk and other populations of people who experience forms of disabilities.
Any person can experience a form of disability at any time. Accidents in workplaces, on roadways and in other places happen and people experience forms of disabilities due to these accidents. Health is always an issue for every single person; at times health issues find people experiencing forms of disabilities. Disability is, and always has been, a part of the human experience.
A society, government, or nation which finds itself unable to ensure the safety and well-being of People with Disabilities, Seniors, or Veterans is no longer a society, government, or nation. When a society, government, or nation threatens, abuses, or fails to ensure the safety and well-being of People with Disabilities, Seniors, or Veterans it has become an anarchistic rabble. If all it takes is a government shutdown over ideological differences between political parties to threaten the safety and well-being of People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans - it is well past time to closely examine the structure of the government itself, as well as the structures of the economy, society, and the nation.
No one in America, especially People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans, should live in poverty while ineffective leaders make six-figure salaries and dine on steak and lobster cocktails. The populations mentioned should not be forced to live in fear of homelessness, hunger, and lack of health care while squabbling leaders wear custom-made clothing and live in the finest housing. The time to ensure the safety and well-being of People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans in America is right now; we can no longer tolerate threats to these populations. The call must be made for comprehensive legislation ensuring the safety and well-being of these populations.
Disability and Poverty in America
One major reason for the low employment and income numbers is that many adults with disabilities subsist on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the health coverage they guarantee. Although the monthly funds received from those programs are barely livable wages, the benefit of Medicare and/or Medicaid is something this population cannot do without.
Disability & Socioeconomic Status
Persons with a disability are likely to have limited opportunities to earn income and often have increased medical expenses. Disabilities among children and adults may affect the socioeconomic standing of entire families. It is estimated that over 40 million people in America have some level of disability, and many of these individuals live in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). Although the Americans with Disabilities Act assures equal opportunities in education and employment for people with and without disabilities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, people with disabilities remain overrepresented among America's poor and undereducated.
Poverty In America: A Special Report
America is getting poorer. The U.S. government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in America, and once again this year the news is not good. According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty. The number of those living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
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