A must-read thread shows how assistance programs keep disabled people in poverty

An eye-opening Tumblr thread posted to Reddit shows how federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs designed to help disabled people actually help keep them in poverty.

Reddit user iDogeYT posted this thread that explains how people with disabilities are not allowed to have more than $2,000 to their name or the benefits they depend on are automatically shut off.

This leaves them unable to save for a rainy day, educational opportunities, or to buy a home or car.



via Reddit

According to Disability Secrets, "To be eligible to receive SSI benefits based on disability, an SSI applicant or a current SSI recipient who is single cannot have more than $2,000 in assets."

If the disabled person is married (even if only one person is eligible for disability), the asset limit is $3,000. The only assets the able-bodied spouse can have are an IRA or pension plan.

If the disabled person has a child under the age of 18, they are only allowed $2,000 in resources.

Resources that are counted in the $2,000 limit, include:

— Money in a checking or savings account

— Cash value in life insurance policies (over $1,500)

— Stocks and bonds

— Household goods and personal effects (over $2,000)

— Motor vehices (except for one), and

— Real estate (other than the home in which a claimant resides)

If a person on disability exceeds their asset limits their benefits can be immediately cancelled.

So, to put it simply, the same program that's supposed to help disabled people can keep an entire family impoverished and unable to accumulate any assets.

via Alexander Edward / Flickr

There is one way that disabled people can accumulate assets, through the Achieving a Better Life Experience program. This allows people who experienced an "onset of disability" before the age of 26 to put up to $100,000 in tax-advantaged savings without having their disability benefits affected.

Since the act was passed in 2014, over 34,000 people have opened up ABLE accounts and over $171.7 million have been invested. The program is available in 41 states and Washington, D.C.

However, what if you became disabled after the age of 26? What if you were the victim of an accident or had a disease? What if you returned home from war in Iraq with a missing limb? Then sorry, you can't have more than $2,000 in your bank account.

Democratic Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania is trying to change the law so more people with disabilities are eligible for ABLE accounts. He has sponsored the ABLE Age Adjustment Act which would raise the age for the onset of a disability to 46 and allow up to 6 million more people save for the future.

"Sometimes the onset of a disability can occur much later in life," Casey told a small crowd of individuals with disabilities last year.

Disability programs are designed to give people more independence, not confine them to a life of poverty. In a capitalist society where cash is king and social programs are lean, financial independence is as important as being physically or mentally independent.

The government should reconsider its punitive limits on the assets of disabled people so they can become more independent and and have a greater chance to be fully integrated into society.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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