Social Security Disability Issues of African Americans
The Black Lives Matter movement has helped raised much needed awareness of the significant societal and economic disadvantages that African Americans tragically still encounter in the United States. But, as a country we still have a long way to go to rectifying these inequities.
Because of these economic inequalities, social insurance programs such as Social Security Disability are of critical importance to the black community.
Additionally, genetics, culture, life-expectancy and lifestyle influence any unique population’s overall health and risk of disability. So the African American community has its own specific and unique health concerns – which result in race-specific issues that must be understood when looking at African Americans and Social Security Disability benefits.
While the Social Security system is in theory “race neutral” both Social Security Retirement benefits and disability benefits play a larger role for minorities than for white individuals overall – due to the fact that minorities typically have fewer financial resources.
Responding to Social Security Disability Issues for African Americans
In September of 2016, the Social Security Administration participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference – as part of their commitment under the Obama Administration to better serve the African-American community. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference addressed several issues facing the black community on America. Black lawyers, congressmen and prominent members of the African American community participated in this important policy making symposium.
This was an important “first step” in making the Social Security system more responsive to the needs of the black community. But, with Trump taking office in January of 2017, little has been done since then to further understand or improve the impact of Social Security benefits for African Americans. As the presidential election looms, it is expected that minority voters will favor a change of administration – due to Biden’s open support of issues facing people of color, while Trump continues to align himself with groups and policies that oppose the advancement of equality.
Why The Importance of Social Security Disability to the Black Community
To begin with, black individuals are more likely to live with a disability than the rest of the general population. African Americans suffer a disability rate of 14.4 percent versus 12.6 percent of the white population.
And, several serious diseases strike black individuals harder and more frequently than they do white individuals. While African Americans experience roughly the same incidence of heart disease (25 percent) and cancer (23 percent), blacks in America have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
Also, statistics showed that African-Americans are more than twice as likely as Caucasians to hold no financial assets, and to have no cash or assets (such as savings) on hand (“a zero or negative net worth”). Most African-American households were found to have less than $10,000 in savings for retirement – and little or nothing invested in any retirement account. And, with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting people of color, these statistics may even be more grim in 2020.
For all of these reasons, Social Security Disability is extremely important to the African American community. With less savings and a greater incidence of serious illness, the ability to collect Social Security Disability can be lifesaving for an injured or ill black man or woman, and the family that they support..
Other Disability Affecting African Americans
Due to a combination of factors including genetics and lifestyle, black Americans are 60% more likely to suffer from Type 2 Diabetes than white Americans. Additionally, black individuals with Diabetes are up to two and a half times more likely to require a limb amputation – and up to five and a half times more likely to suffer kidney disease.
Sadly, even despite lower tobacco exposure, men of African American descent are 50% more likely to get lung cancer than men of Caucasian descent. And strokes annually kill 4 times more black Americans than white Americans between the ages of 35 and 54.
Genetics, environmental factors and socioeconomic status all play a role here. But whatever the cause, it is essential that Social Security Disability benefits remain available to all Americans – including black Americans and other people of color.
Social Security Disability Lawyers for African Americans
More than 2.5 million African Americans receive Social Security Disability Benefits in 2019. These hard working Americans who have paid into the Social Security system during their careers rely on the Social Security system to pay them the benefits they have earned through years of payroll contributions.
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Cantrell Green have been aggressively protected the rights of injured workers of color, and obtaining the benefits for which they qualify, for over four decades. As a minority operated law firm, our Social Security lawyers have assisted thousands of Black, Latino, Asian and other minority Social Security applicants collect the benefits that they deserve.
If you have been disabled and you live in Long Beach, Orange County, the Los Angeles area or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a consultation with an experienced Social Security lawyer to help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum disability benefits for which you qualify.