Eighteenth Amendment

Alcohol: History of Drinking; Temperance Movement; Women's Christian Temperance Union

ELIMINATION OF THE DRUG ADDICTION AND ALCOHOLISM CATEGORY IN SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY PROGRAMS Since 1950, the federal government of the United States has provided income support by welfare or social insurance mechanisms to individuals with work disabilities unrelated to military service. Currently, the Social Security Administration operates two programs for the disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The differences between them reflect a fundamental schism in the American welfare state, which is divided into ''tracks'' along the line of labor force attachment. As it name implies, DI is an ''insurance-like ' program: Workers make payroll deductions that over time qualify them for benefits based on average lifetime earnings should they ever become disabled. SSI, on the other hand, is a ''welfare'' program designed for individuals with little history of employment and few resources. Whereas income and wealth are no bar to the receipt of DI, SSI is ''means- tested.'' Excluding (mainly) the value of a home and an automobile, no SSI recipient can have assets valued at more than $2000 (or $3000 in cases where two beneficiaries are married). Some people collect both SSI and DI (they get ''concurrent benefits'') because although they qualify for DI, their benefit level is so low that it is augmented by SSI.

Typical of income maintenance schemes in liberal welfare states, the American system emphasizes economic returns to work, and thus social insurance offers more substantial benefits than welfare. In March 1999, the average monthly benefit for DI recipients was $773, whereas the federal minimum SSI benefit for sighted individuals under 65 years old and living in their own households was $500 per month. Some states (notably Alaska, California, and Connecticut) augment the federal minimum with a state supplement, but even in states the value of SSI is substantially less than the average DI payment.

For both SSI and DI, statue defines disability as ''the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.'' The rules and procedures used to determine if a case falls within this definition are also the same for both programs. Substantial gainful activity is defined as the performance of significant physical or mental activities for remuneration of profit at the level of $700 per month. Since a series of federal court rulings in 1993 and 1994 (codified by statue in 1994), illegal activities such as prostitution and drug dealing have been included in its meaning. Thus, an addict supporting a $700 per month heroin habit through prostitution, for example, may on this evidence be ruled able to work.

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