Most New York residents are likely tired of hearing about the dreaded "fiscal cliff". While thankfully republicans and democrats were able to come to an agreement related to tax hikes, they failed to reach a consensus on several other important matters that may greatly impact individuals living with disabilities.
There are still numerous federal budget cuts looming on which Congress must decide. Under a process known as sequestration, Congress opted to shelve a decision on these matters for another two months. It's likely, however, that many government programs that benefit disabled and poor individuals will see steep cuts to their yearly budgets.
Many individuals living with physical and mental disabilities may qualify for or already receive social security disability benefits. For the majority of these individuals, their disabilities prevent them from being able to work and the monies they receive through disability benefits are critical in allowing them to provide for basic needs including food, clothing and housing.
In addition to monetary benefits, SSD recipients are often eligible to participate in special ongoing education and training courses. Additionally, SSD recipients may receive assistance with finding subsidized housing, transportation needs and medical treatment. Expected funding cuts, however, threaten the future of many of these programs and will likely negatively impact thousands of disabled men, women and children.
Previous estimates reported that government programs were slated to undergo nearly $100 billion in budget cuts. The problem, however, is that many of these cuts will be indiscriminate and across the board meaning that many much-needed and highly utilized programs that benefit disabled Americans face an uncertain future.
Source: Disability Scoop, "Disability Programs Still Vulnerable After 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal," Michelle Diament, Jan. 8, 2013