Center for American Progress

Keeping Americans with disabilities from poverty must remain a priority
In the News

Keeping Americans with disabilities from poverty must remain a priority

Mia Ives-Rublee discusses how the Supplemental Security Income program helped her overcome the structural barriers to employment and economic security that millions of disabled people experience and urges lawmakers to strengthen the program.

One of the most misunderstood and ignored anti-poverty programs in the United States, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), was designed specifically to help people with disabilities. This community continues to face disproportionately high poverty rates due to ableism and other structural barriers to employment and economic security. SSI provides people with disabilities monthly cash income to help pay for basic living expenses, but the 50-year-old program needs updating.

Before the creation of SSI, people with disparities were often reliant on their families and state governments to provide financial support. Without agency and financial independence, many people with disabilities were forced to depend on their parents or family members until they passed away or were locked away in institutions. And while there are over 1.6 million people with disabilities still locked in institutions, many others have been able to live independently in their communities with the use of SSI and Medicaid.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill. Click here to view the full article.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Mia Ives-Rublee

Director, Disability Justice Initiative


Disability Justice Initiative

We promote policies to ensure disabled people of color and those most marginalized by ableism and other forms of oppression can participate in the economy and democracy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.