What government default could mean for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS

Posted on 10/16/2013 at 1:12 pm

In 14 days, millions of New Yorkers, including hundreds of Bailey House clients, will be expecting their SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSD (Social Security Disability) benefits to arrive by electronic transfer into their accounts.  These benefits, which range from $900 to $1,200 monthly, pay for daily survival – groceries, rent, non-reimbursed medication costs, Metro Cards, clothing and all of the other things many of us take for granted. Today there is talk that if the government defaults, the big ticket items, like debt payments, SSI, SSD etc. that are paid out at the end of the month, may be delayed or suspended.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been lulled into believing that despite what was happening in Congress, the most vulnerable among us would be fine. Default is the big game changer. There won’t be anywhere to turn except to community-based organizations like Bailey House. Last month we distributed close to 1,000 food pantry bags, each of which contains three meals. Starting Monday, October 21st, we are adding baby food and other essentials needed by the women who receive WIC (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) for their babies and young children because WIC has been closed since the beginning of the shutdown. If there is a default, demand for food and other survival items could increase tenfold.  We are working to step up to the challenge.  It is our legacy.

On behalf of our clients, we would very much appreciate any help you can provide to cover these additional costs in this uncertain time.

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