I have a few stories of my own about disabled adults on SSI, and trust me, they need it. Between 2008 and 2009, I spent a year as a case manager at a homeless shelter in Chicago. In that time, I worked with many guests and clients of the shelter who had mental and/or physical disabilities that prevented them from working. And when you can’t work – it’s hard to have enough income to let you meet basic needs. That’s where assistance programs came in.
One of my clients at the shelter was a man who had been on SSI since he was a child. He had been a part of the program that serves disabled children and had transitioned into the adult program after turning 18. Then in his late 20s, I worked with him as he went through the routine evaluation conducted to check disability status, or check that the person is still in need of SSI. This man wasn’t someone who was trying to cheat the system – he suffered from a mental illness, was unable to work, and as an adult had to continue to prove his need for SSI. His meager SSI check was what paid his rent, bought food, and got him around the city to appointments. Read more »
In 2011, more than one in five women was poor in Mississippi (22.3 percent) and Louisiana (20.6 percent). Only one state, New Hampshire, had a poverty rate of less than ten percent for women, at 8.9 percent. In the other 47 states and the District of Columbia, between 10 and 20 percent of women lived below the poverty line.
In 2011, more than half of female-headed families with children were poor in Kentucky (51.3 percent), Louisiana (50.3 percent), Mississippi (51.8 percent), and West Virginia (51.6 percent). In eight more states (AL, AR, ID, MI, NM, OH, SC, and TN), their poverty rates were 45 percent and above. Read more »
Last week, the Census Bureau released new poverty data and NWLC has been crunching the numbers. Today, we released our full report showing that poverty rates stabilized in 2011, but remained near historically high levels. As policy makers face critical budget choices in the coming months, we hope that they will remember the real people behind these numbers. We can do more to reduce these numbers.
If you follow our blog, you already know that the 2011 poverty data were released by the U.S. Census today. The data show that more than 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of all Americans, were considered poor in 2011. Notably, there was no statistically significant change in the poverty rate from 2010—meaning that, unlike the past few years, poverty did not rise in 2011. Poverty among women and children, though higher than poverty among men, was also essentially unchanged in 2011. While it is a relief that the rate hasn’t increased for most groups, poverty still remains historically high.
So what’s the encouraging part? Government programs are keeping people out of poverty. Social Security alone prevented more than 21 million people, including 1.1 million children, from falling into poverty last year—no small feat for a 77 year old program. It’s also important to remember that the Census data is based on incomes that do not include non-cash benefits like food stamps (SNAP) or tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If the value of SNAP benefits were counted as income in 2011, 3.9 million people would not have been considered poor, and accounting for the EITC would have lifted 5.7 million people above the poverty line. Read more »
The Census Bureau just released new data on poverty in the U.S. in 2011. In the second full year of the recovery that began when the recession officially ended in June 2009, poverty began to stabilize, though at a very high level: the overall poverty rate was 15.0 percent, statistically unchanged from the rate in 2010 (15.1 percent). Here’s a quick look at the numbers for women and families:
The poverty rate among women was 14.6 percent in 2011, statistically unchanged from 14.5 percent in 2010, but still the highest rate in 18 years. Men’s poverty rate was lower, at 10.9 percent in 2011 (statistically unchanged from 11.2 percent in 2010). A 14.6 percent poverty rate means 17.7 million women were living in poverty in 2011.
The poverty rate for women 65 and older was 10.7 percent in 2011, unchanged from 2010 and lower than the poverty rate for women overall. However, the poverty rate for elderly women living alone increased significantly to 18.4 percent in 2011 from 17.0 percent in 2010.