Saturday, October 13, 2007



Social Security Disability and the Cost of Housing

An individual (Sarah Jane) posting on the WashBlog makes some very valid points about the cost of housing and the ability of individuals living on social security disability benefits to support themselves.

On this blog, of course, I tend to focus on topics that are relevant to individuals who have not yet applied for disability, have applied and are awaiting a decision, and those who have been denied for disability benefits. And it is any one of those stages that a claimant may elect to be represented by a disability attorney or by a non-attorney disability representative.

However, at the point at which a claimant has been approved (and the amount of time required for this can be considerable, to say the least) and a claimant's representative has exited the scene, things aren't necessarily uphill for the average disability benefit recipient.

Sarah Jane points out in her post that, in Seattle, apartment rents average one thousand dollars a month. She also points out that the average social security disability benefits recipient lives on about $10,000.00 per year, or $833.00 a month, which she calculates to be roughly equivalent to a worker earning $4.81 an hour.

Things look fairly bleak when you consider them in this sort of context. Of course, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest are notorious (at least to my mind) when it comes to the cost of rent and mortgages. In that part of the country, very small and modest homes can easily go for four hundred thousand-plus, and rents, as the poster indicated, can top a thousand per month.

Unfortunately, however, many other parts of the country seem to be catching up with Seattle. For example, in many of the smaller areas of North Carolina, rents can still reach $700 per month quite easily. And in areas like Raleigh and Charlotte, the cost can be considerably more.

The poster on this site (link below) believes that the social security disability rate, as she refers to it, should be doubled or tripled. Of course, that will never happen. She may not have realized it, but the amount a person collects on social security disability is simply the amount they would have received had they been of an age that made them eligible to receive social security retirement. So, doubling or tripling DIB benefits (i.e. social security disability benefits) would be the same as doubling or tripling retirement benefits. In other words, bankrupting the country (I write that mindful of the fact that the country is probably headed down the road to financial insolvency anyway).


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