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Some Disabled People Lose Benefits After Stimulus Checks

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When the United States government approved sending stimulus checks to American citizens and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were relieved. Due to layoffs, cut hours and parents having to leave work to take care of their kids, many people have been struggling.

What was supposed to help Americans is now hurting some members of the disability community. HuffPost reported last week that the stimulus checks have caused some people to lose disability benefits.

Supplemental Security Income recipients are not allowed to have more than $2,000 for one person at a time or $3,000 for a couple. The program also only provides people $794 a month, and it can take years for disabled people to even be approved.

As stimulus checks are counted under tax credits, they should not affect people’s eligibility to receive Supplemental Security Income. “The whole point of stimulus was to help people who were being harmed during COVID, and now there’s going to be people facing a cessation of benefits and they’re going to end up in a worse place,” Michelle Spadafore, senior supervising attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group, told HuffPost.

The exact number of recipients who lost their disability benefits is unknown. Joseph Morris told HuffPost that he lost his Supplemental Security Income because he had more than $2,000 in his bank account after receiving a stimulus check. HuffPost reported that “starting next month, Social Security will take 10% out of Morris’ monthly benefits until it recoups the several thousand dollars the agency believes it overpaid him last year.” Morris was understandably upset, and he said the following:

You’re going to give me a stimulus check to stimulate the economy, and I can’t go out under doctor’s orders and you’re penalizing me for having this money. Now it’s going to cost me money to have this money.

Grace Kim, an acting assistant deputy commissioner for Social Security, said that the department is looking into this issue, but did not give an estimate of when disabled people who lost their benefits should receive them again.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Kevin McCoy

Originally published: May 25, 2021
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