I just checked my mail, and in it was a letter from the Social Security Administration telling me that there would not be an increase in my SSI this year. While I’m not surprised, I am also thankful that so far there haven’t been signs of another decrease like we got last year. Like many others I would love to have an increase, but to be honest having it frozen is better than a decrease. I understand the economy is bad and such, I know many folks are hurting financially and that increases aren’t possible at this time. I’m actually cool with that. I also receive Social Security Disability (SSDI), which last year didn’t change, so I feel that the possibility of a change in it is slim.
I am a little bothered though by the idea that the state government here in Pennsylvania is getting a cost of living increase in their salary. In light of last year’s cost of living decrease in the state portion of SSI, it feels like a revered Robin Hood kind of thing instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor it feels like they stole from the poor and then waited until they thought nobody was paying attention and passed that money to the rich. I don’t recall the exact numbers I saw in the Warren Times observer, but I do recall that when I saw the numbers indicating how huge the increase in the government’s COLA would be for one person, I was astounded, because it seemed to me that the amount of the increase was something I could have lived on for at least a year if not longer and that was just the amount of the increase not including what the person currently received. If I could live for a year or longer on one government person’s increase, how many Pennsylvanians could survive on the sum of the increases gained by all the government people who are slated to receive COLA increases. It looks like instead of doing what is good for Pennsylvanians, there are those in power who are looking out for themselves instead of the people who put them in office. I would love it if government officials be required to live for 6 months on what folks on Disability live on. Let them experience first hand what it’s like to have to sometimes choose between food and medical care or having to hear comments from people in line behind them in stores when they purchase food with food stamps the whole time hearing muffled comments about how lazy they are from people who don’t have a clue what your situation is. Yes, it’s gotten easier since plastic cards that swipe like a debit or credit car have been introduced, but it is still tough. I am considered to be Disabled I have worked but am not able to because of my disability. this doesn’t make me lazy, god knows I have tried, and there are many others out there who have as well. In my case, I try to give back to my community maybe not in a traditional workforce, but I do try to give back as best I can in whatever way I am able to at a given time.
I know there are some state representatives who have a passion for helping folks like me and I also know that there are folks in state government who would fight them tooth and nail.
Overall though when it comes to the way the budget gets balanced and the idea that while many are out of work their unemployment may be running out, and in some cases there are folks who are legitimately disabled who seem to be pawns in the greater scheme of things we see benefits cut or frozen, yet the government gives themselves a raise. I’m sure that the folks who have been unemployed and looking for work but not able to find work because there aren’t any jobs for them probably also feel like they’re being robbed in some way. So my request is this, that PA State Government officials and employees have their salaries frozen until such a time as folks who are elderly, disabled and even those who are unemployed because of the economy can also get Cost of living increases, and that more effort be made to help create jobs for those who can work and are able to once the workforce is increasing in size then consider a pay raise for State employees, officials, and legislature. But please don’t cut or freeze the benefits of the disabled and then turn around and pad your own wallets that to me feels like an abuse of power. You weren’t elected into office to get rich, you were elected to speak for the people you represent and whether or not you agree, folks who are elderly and disabled happen to be members of “the people” listen to us the same as you would listen to a big business owner.