Will Biden Support Social Security Disability?

Biden has implemented a number of legislative plans that showcase his strong support for American families. That’s a good thing, because families have been struggling the most over the past year and a half, and they need yet more help to keep food on the table. Biden’s success on these issues is hardly a foregone conclusion, and it could be that several of the issues he believes are most important might be pushed until after the midterm elections — and only if Democrats increase their current majorities.

The question of whether or not Biden will boost support and funding for social security disability is unanswered, though.

Recently, a number of lawmakers banded together to push increased support for social security benefits in Biden’s American Families Plan that was recently unveiled.

United States Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), and 47 other members of Congress wrote, “People with disabilities and older adults receiving SSI represent some of the most marginalized members of our society. History will not forgive us if we fail to address their needs in the recovery effort.”

They noted that eight million Americans receive SSI benefits, and many of those have disabilities but did not qualify or were not accepted into the SSDI program. SSI only allows individuals to receive $794 per month, and SSI benefits only remain applicable to those with a couple thousand dollars or less to their names.

The lawmakers who penned the letter to Biden requested an SSI raise of 100 percent of the federal poverty line, after which the cap would be tied to inflation. The letter said, “Because this limit is not indexed to inflation, it grows steadily more draconian each year. Lifting this asset cap is long overdue.”

The lawmakers also pointed out that Biden favored making changes to Social Security when he ran for the presidency. Now that he’s won the office, they want him to follow through on his promises. 

The letter added, “These reforms are not only consistent with the imperatives of disability and economic equality. They would also advance racial justice. Nearly 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic Americans receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits also receive SSI payments, due to the low level of their disability insurance awards. By strengthening the SSI program, you will be taking strong and necessary steps to alleviate poverty that disproportionately impacts disabled people of color.”

It was an important caveat, because much of Biden’s legacy will be dependent on how he handles race relations in a country where civil rights and criminal reform issues are rising to the top of the pool. Similar requests have asked Biden to reclassify marijuana to legalize the drug everywhere instead of waiting for states to do it themselves. This would reduce the disparity in marijuana-related arrests, since African Americans are incarcerated much more often than Caucasians — even though both groups use the drug at similar rates.