Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow, Century Foundation; Secretary, National Academy of Social Insurance Board of Directors
As congressional leaders continue to negotiate economic recovery legislation to “build back better” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy’s new fact sheet on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides a quick look at the many ways this critical but long-forgotten part of our Social Security system has withered on the vine due to decades of federal neglect. From asset limits that haven’t been adjusted for inflation in over 30 years to income rules that have never been updated since the program was established in 1972, SSI was already urgently in need of rebuilding long before the pandemic, to ensure that the program’s older and disabled beneficiaries are able to live in dignity.
Heartfelt thanks to the many other Academy Members and experts who have been working to improve the SSI program and produce policy options, including: Bethany Lilly, Senior Director of Income Security at The Arc; Matthew Cortland, Senior Fellow at Data for Progress; Tracey Gronniger, Directing Attorney at Justice in Aging; Kate Lang, Senior Staff Attorney at Justice in Aging; Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works and Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition; Jasmine Wigfall, Legislative Director, Social Security Works; Kathleen Romig, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Mia Ives-Rublee, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress; among many others.
Are you an Academy Member doing work on SSI? We invite you to share your work. Please email Bill Arnone, CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome your comments below. Thank you for contributing to the Academy’s efforts to improve economic security for all Americans, and especially those hardest-hit by the pandemic.