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Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor?

I am a conservator for a 66-year-old woman who has been disabled for 20 years following a burst cerebral aneurysm. She spends her life in a board-and-care facility that keeps her there notwithstanding the fact that all of her reserves have been spent and they receive only what SSI pays her, which is about $400 less than what they would ordinarily charge.

Here’s the problem: SSI pays her $1,086 per month, and this amount has not gone up in two years. I just got a letter entitled “Explanation of Benefits” from SSI, which advises that the payment amount will not go up in 2012 because increases are tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index, and “The CPI has not risen since the last cost-of-living adjustment was determined in 2008.”

This is a flat out lie. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI publication of November 17, 2010, the CPI has increased about 3.5% in the last year (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf).

Granted, a $30 increase in my lady’s benefits won’t mean much to her or the board-and-care where she stays. But this same letter has gone out to every SSI recipient in the country. The Social Security Administration under Obama is using disinformation to cover its refusal to increase benefits at all to people who are quite simply incapable of organizing to be heard, much less vote. And perhaps therein lies the real explanation: in the land of the lobbyist, the truly disenfranchised are truly expendable. It is a disgrace.

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