Ø Disabilities prevent many homeless people from working.
o A 1996 national survey conducted by the federal government found that 39% of homeless persons reported indicators of severe mental health problems, and some 46% reported chronic physical health problems.
Ø Federal Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits (SSI and SSDI) can provide income (and health insurance) to eligible applicants, thereby reducing long-term homelessness.
o Only 11% of the homeless population actually receive SSI benefits.
Ø The complex application process involves many obstacles such as retaining necessary documents and information, ultimately preventing homeless persons with disabilities from obtaining SSI benefits.
o The Social Security Administration does not track applications from homeless persons nationally, but two local studies conducted in cities where data was available found that 10-15% of homeless applicants are initially approved, compared to 37% of applicants nationwide.
Ø The Law Center's Income Program focuses on improving access for homeless persons public benefits including SSI and food assistance programs.
Ø We advocate for improvements and increased funding for the United States' benefits programs.