CW: Assisted Suicide
I have received SSI benefits for the past six years. I am one of the approximately eight million SSI beneficiaries in the United States. My monthly check is less than $900 a month. Do you think you could live off an SSI check? Millions of Americans do, and it is a challenge. I pay close attention to my finances to ensure that I don’t run out of money before the end of the month.
My SSI benefits are less than the FPL for one person in 2022. This means that I have to live off less than $1,133 a month. I am fortunate to be able to share expenses with my friend. We rent our apartment for $1,000 a month. It would be impossible for me to afford the rent on my own.
Disability benefits need to be increased so that people aren’t forced to live in poverty. People who receive benefits struggle to afford necessities. My roommate buys necessities such as shampoo, toothpaste, and toilet paper because it allows me to have some money left over after rent is paid. This money goes into my ABLE account. I wish I could help him with expenses more than I do right now. I am blessed that I have his support because I don’t know how I would live independently without his financial help.
On Twitter today, I saw a video of disabled Canadians who are on Ontario’s Disability Support Program. They resorted to panhandling in order to supplement their disability benefits. The video was heartbreaking. Nobody should have to beg for money in order to get by.
In some cases, being forced to live in poverty due to a disability can be a matter of life or death. In Toronto, a woman is ending her life with the assistance of a physician after failing to find safe, affordable, and accessible housing. We should not live in a world where it is easier to be approved for assisted suicide than it is to find accessible, safe housing. Canada should be a country where disabled people can find housing they can afford on Ontario’s Disability Support Program. It shouldn’t be easier for disabled people to die than to live.
Disability benefits need to provide a livable income for the millions of people who rely on them worldwide. Nobody who needs this support should be worrying about being able to afford everything they need to live. Disability benefits need to be increased now!
Cobb, Daniel. “2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines / Federal Poverty Levels.” Payment Options & Financial Assistance for Senior Care, PayingforSeniorCare.com, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/federal-poverty-level.
Favaro, Avis. “Woman with Disabilities Nears Medically Assisted Death after Futile Bid for Affordable Housing.” CTVNews, CTV News, 30 Apr. 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/woman-with-disabilities-nears-medically-assisted-death-after-futile-bid-for-affordable-housing-1.5882202.
“Number of Recipients, 1974–2020.” Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration, 1 Dec. 2020, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2021/fast_facts21.html.