HUM 220 Income Support Policies


Income Support Policies


Argosy University Online



In this assignment, I will examine the U.S. Economic System as well as its relationship to social justice and ethics. I plan to do that by examining our income support policies. Inevitably, I hope to help myself, as well as others to understand the socially constructed ways of developing and distributing resources, as well as implementing societal values. I would like to identify what I see as the “problem of justice”, and in turn, learn more about it. The two policies I wish to research are: (1) Social Security, and (2) SSI. In my opinion, Social Security is the most important, as well as the most effective income support program ever introduced in the United States. It helps to greatly reduce the burden of poverty for millions of our elderly. Social Security is based on some one’s length of time, and ability to work, and the level of Social Security benefits is related to one’s career earnings history; the higher the benefits, reflects higher lifetime earnings. SSI on the other hand, has an even larger impact on mortality than Social Security benefits. This fact is attributed to the fact that SSI goes exclusively to the poor and near-poor elderly. I will compare, and contrast these two income support policies, so as to see, not only what the two have in common, but we can also explore, and research the differences.


Social Security Disability Insurance (DI): (As described by the SSA, 2010)

The purpose of the DI program is to replace a portion of lost income due to a worker’s physical or mental disability. In order to qualify, a person in need must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability and be insured for disability through prior work experiences. In order to satisfy the disability criterion, the person must (1) have a medically determined disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or possibly result in death, and (2) be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). To be insured for disability means that an individual has worked in a job covered by Social Security for a specified number of quarters (which does vary by age). There is a five-month waiting period for benefits after the onset of a disability for those who are determined eligible. DI beneficiaries are also eligible for Medicare coverage after a two-year waiting period from receipt of initial benefits. While the DI program does include several provisions in order for people to maintain their eligibility for cash and/or Medicare benefits if they return to work, beneficiaries can also lose DI and Medicare eligibility if earnings rise above the SGA level. (Social Security Administration, 2010)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI). (As described by the SSA, 2010)

The Supplemental Security Income program provides monthly cash benefits to aged, disabled, and blind individuals who meet income, and resource guidelines. They must also meet the medical eligibility requirements. SSI Benefits are paid to blind and disabled children under the age of 18, and adults aged 18 or older. With respect to the SSI blind and disabled, unless otherwise specified—recipients are persons receiving federally administered payments all


payments are federal payments only, and SSI blind, and disabled adults include only persons aged 18-64. (Upp, 2010)

The major eligibility difference between the adult SSI and DI programs is that a person must satisfy a means, and asset test to qualify for SSI benefits, whereas under DI they must meet certain past work history conditions. In addition, most SSI recipients are immediately eligible for Medicaid benefits. Finally, SSI benefits are generally much lower than average DI benefits ($388 vs. $681 in December 1999). While the SSI program holds several provisions that do allow recipients to maintain their eligibility for cash and/or Medicaid benefits if they return to work, however, they can lose a portion or all of their SSI benefit levels if they become employed and have earnings above a certain thresholds. With respect to the data, unless otherwise specified—all cost, award, and termination data are for calendar years, and all counts of Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and the insured population are as of December of the given year.

Below is the stand, and views of the two different political parties on the subject of SSI, and Social Security. I am of the opinion that we all want the same things in life, those things include freedom; the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible, and most importantly, I believe we all want healthy children that can live on crime-free streets. The argument is how to achieve them…

The Social Security system should be protected at all costs.  Reduction in future benefits is not a reasonable option. Opinions vary on the extent of the current system’s financial stability.


Social Security provides a safety net for the nation’s poor and needy.  Changing the system would cause a reduction in benefits and many people would suffer as a result.

The Social Security system is in serious trouble.  Major changes to the current system are urgently needed.  In its current state, the Social Security system is not financially sustainable.  It will collapse if nothing is done to address the problems.  Many will suffer as a result.  Social Security must be made more efficient through privatization and/or allowing individuals to manage their own savings. (Malka & Lelkes, 2010, p. 323-440)

Unfortunately, the two views have very little in common. Their only commonalities, in my opinion, is that they believe the system is in serious trouble, and the elderly are entitled to these benefits. They believe that something needs to be done to protect them. However, their ideas on how to protect them, and maintain them, are two very different ideas indeed.

Finally, I have concluded that we, as a country, must find some way to meet in the middle so as to protect these two precious resources. Our elderly, and our disabled need more help, in every area, than most of us do, and if we cannot find a way to help this special group of people in our nation, then we, as a nation, should be ashamed. We need to stop all the in-fighting, and the well-known, and well publicized hatred, and disagreement of the opinions, and requests from Mr. Obama. We have to start acting like we care, instead of just saying we do. The selfishness needs to stop.



Malka, A., & Lelkes, Y. (2010). More than Ideology: Conservative–Liberal Identity and Receptivity to Political Cues. Social Justice Research, 6 (262), 323-440. Doi: 10.1007/s11211-010-0114-3

Up, M. (2010). A look at the economic status of the aged then and now. Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (2010). Income of the Aged Chart Book, 2008 – Contents. Retrieved from