Andrew Yang wants to sell you universal basic income. Beware if you have disabilities.

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  • #240830

    • Total Posts: 1,199

    Like many of the presidential candidate’s plans, his disability policy is thin and confusing.


    How Yang’s Freedom Dividend affects disability benefits

    With the Freedom Dividend, the government would pay every American $1,000 per month, no strings attached. This is unlikely to ever make it through Congress. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it did. Then what would happen to disability benefits?

    It is difficult to analyze the impact of the Freedom Dividend on other social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicaid, or food stamps. Andrew Yang’s new health care plan and the “Care for People with Disabilities” section say absolutely nothing on the matter. When Vox contacted Yang’s campaign for clarification, his national press secretary insisted that Yang’s plan “touches on aspects” of disability benefits, but did not explain how or in what way. I was repeatedly given answers and sent links to parts of the website that were totally irrelevant to the questions I’d asked.

    A major issue for how the Freedom Dividend might impact disability benefits is whether a program will “stack” with it. That is, whether a person will still be able to receive their existing benefits while also receiving the Freedom Dividend. While Yang does outline some social programs that will “stack” — like Social Security retirement benefits — it is an incomplete list.

    For many of the programs he omits — like SNAP (better known as food stamps) or housing vouchers — a person has to demonstrate a certain amount of financial hardship in order to qualify. While the Freedom Dividend should hypothetically be available to everyone, his campaign’s loose grasp on what benefits disabled people even use in the first place suggests it may not.

    For example, the FAQ on universal basic income on Yang’s website includes basic errors. It notes: “some people who receive more than $1,000 a month in SSI would choose to take the Freedom Dividend because it has no preconditions.” This means they they can opt-in without having “to deal with a degrading and paternalistic bureaucracy,” Yang’s national press secretary told me. However, the problem with this statement is that it conflates SSI, Supplemental Security Income, with SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance, which encompass very different things.

  • #240845

    • Total Posts: 991

    My reading is entirely different. Yang’s UBI does not “stack” with SSDI (SS and SSI are listed specifically as stacking, therefore the specific exclusion of SSDI must be intentional) It may just be ignorance, but the assumption that people would chose to forego or give up benefits – the combination of which are far more than the paltry UBI – is an attempt to capitalize on the lack of facts or the unthinking disgust with “the government” is distinctly possible.

  • #240906

    • Total Posts: 975

    Yang’s ubi is probably around 1/3 of what it needs to be if there are no other benefits and people really want independence.

  • #240915

    • Total Posts: 2,910

    He has admitted people on social programs will have to decide between his UBI or say, LIHEAP. You can’t have both. It’s either/or. If SSDI is omitted in his policy, it’s most likely something on that either/or list, which is sick.

    I don’t know how he can justify giving people who make $500,000+ a year his $1000 UBI and takes Social Programs away from poor people or disabled people and UBI is not given in addition to Social programs. It’s especially discriminatory and extremely questionable… With some elitism thrown in. WTF is the explanation for that?


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