OP-ED by Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Emilia Sicilia, The Hill

If you are a person with disabilities or an older adult with little or no income and resources, the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is supposed to keep you out of poverty.  

But Congress has failed to update the program for decades, and participants are now trapped in a cycle of poverty due to its outdated and complex rules.

Roughly 8 million Americans rely on SSI, including 1 million children. The state of SSI should be a national scandal — and the human stakes of this crisis are painfully visible in New York, where more than 600,000 people depend on the program. Shockingly, in New York’s 16th Congressional district, tens of thousands of recipients are expected to live on an average benefit of $575 per month. SSI recipients are disproportionately Black.

What this boils down to is that Americans with disabilities are being forced to navigate a society and a political system that does not fully value them as human beings.