Why Disability and Poverty Still Go Hand in Hand

25 Years After Landmark Law

ADA at 25On July 23, 2015, NPR reported the story, “Why Disability And Poverty Still Go Hand In Hand 25 Years After Landmark Law.”

“If you have a disability in the U.S., you’re twice as likely to be poor as someone without a disability. You’re also far more likely to be unemployed. And that gap has widened in the 25 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted.”

Pam Fessler reported.

The numbers around poverty and unemployment have a strong connection to homelessness.

“Fewer than 1 in 5 disabled adults are employed, one reason so many are poor.”

And without a job, the high cost of housing in New Jersey keeps apartments and homes out of reach for many disabled residents.

Debbie Eagle represents the many individuals with disabilities who would like to work. “ She says she’d really like if either she or her husband — who is also visually impaired — could find a well-paying job so that they are ‘not dependent on the government.’” Disability benefits are not high enough to cover rent.

Priced Out in 2014Priced Out in 2014, produced by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force, found that the national average rent for a modestly priced one-bedroom apartment is greater than the entire Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment of a person with a disability.

In New Jersey in 2014:

  • There were 97,792 SSI recipients.
  • Recipients receive $752/month.
  • SSI income puts recipients at 15.1% of the median income.
  • Recipients would need to pay 144% of their SSI income to afford a 1-bedroom apartment and 127% of their SSI income for an efficiency apartment.
  • There are 11 local housing markets, basically covering the entire state, where 1-bedroom apartment rents are above 100% of monthly SSI benefits.

Click here for the full NPR news story.