The Social Security payments, including the Supplemental Security Income, assumed importance in 2022 in the face of rising prices and the absence of any form of federal stimulus checks. This is despite the immense burden the record inflation figures placed on low and moderate-income families.
American families struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on a variety of economic indicators. The recent rise in prices started in the last quarter of 2021 and continued through 2022. This further threatened to reduce the buying power of American families and exacerbate the existing financial hardship and disparities.
While the middle and high-income groups remained largely impervious to the vagaries of rising prices, low and moderate-income groups were hugely affected, and the relentless rise in prices for over a year threatened deep social inequities in American society.
Before this period of inflation level, not faced for over 4 decades by Americans, many families had already been struggling with normal household expenses. While wages remained constant, the record inflation, which at times threatened to touch double-digit figures, ensured that in real terms wages showed a negative growth throughout 2022.
The absence of stimulus checks, a constant backup for families throughout the pandemic, and at times the only source of income, came to an abrupt halt in 2022. The last stimulus check support for Americans came in the form of the expanded version of the Child Tax Credit stimulus check.
The CTC stimulus check provided for families with children, and the extra funds it provided to families between July and December 2021 pulled millions of families with children out of the debilitating clutches of poverty.
Many families had already struggled to pay their normal household expenses, mortgage and rent payments, and to obtain sufficient food to provide for their families. And this was especially true for families with children, especially families with multiple children and other dependents, tan for households without children. And this struggle was compounded in low and moderate-income categories.
Federal policies have operated outside the domain of stimulus checks to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families with children. It has sought to provide monetary relief and increased nutritional assistance. Medical funding, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the expanded version of the Child Tax Credit stimulus checks (CTC stimulus checks) provide much-needed relief through 2021. But 2022 was different.
Household Income, Stimulus Checks, And Children’s Health And Well-Being
Children have always been the most affected by any form of emergency, including wars and pandemics. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, families with children living close to or below the federal poverty line have traditionally struggled and had a high rate of food insufficiency.
In the field of academic achievement, they rates worse than higher-income peers, which again had its role in perpetuating the cycle of food insufficiency, debilitating mortgages, high debt rates, and homelessness. This disparate income also had its effect on the health of children’s health.
It was worse in the case of infant health. Government statistics prove that household income has traditionally affected children’s health as well as their social and cognitive development. A federal report from 2020 showed that students from economically disadvantaged sections of society are generally one and a half times more likely to fail to graduate from high school within 4 years of entering the ninth grade.
Financial instability in a family has also led to social instability and led to stress and mental health challenges for parents. It has invariably affected the mental and emotional health of the children involved.
Cash Assistance For Low-Income Parents: Addressing The Cause Of Children’s Economic And Well-Being
Economic stability has also been a constant social determinant and a contributing factor to the health of the children involved. Addressing the contributing social causes of health has been a priority for the federal administration. Addressing child poverty is directly linked to an improvement in child health that includes healthy birth weight, better nutrition, low maternal stress, and an absence in the use of alcohol and drugs.
Direct stimulus checks in multiple forms have been linked to an improvement in health outcomes. Recent studies have found improved brain activity in babies of low-income families who were given cash assistance.
Social Security Support For Children
While Social Security benefits have been normally linked to the benefits to enable retirees, in some cases, it also offers direct assistance to dependents, including children. Potential recipients are normally spouses and dependent parents, but also children and even grandchildren.
Depending on the relationship they have with the main beneficiary, the retiree, dependents may receive various proportions of payments that vary between 50% and 100% of the benefits to that a qualified retiree is entitled to. The spouse and also other dependents of the principal beneficiary may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration. This is applicable both when the beneficiary is alive and even after their demise.
Even former spouses of retired workers may be entitled to benefits that are equal to half the amount the retiring beneficiary received last. But it is only given if the marriage lasted at least a decade. Social Security also imposes a maximum family benefit that brings down benefits to some dependents if the total amount limit for the family as a whole is exceeded.
Children are eligible for a Social Security Administration stimulus check based on the work record of the principal beneficiary, their parent. If a child is to be considered qualified, the parent must be either retired, disabled, or even deceased.
Children may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, the separate program that is also under the administrative control of the Social Security Administration. Children are eligible for survivor benefits till they are 18 or 19 if they are in primary or even secondary school. The maximum family benefits under the Social Security payment range between 150% and 180% of the benefit payable to the original beneficiary.
The primary criteria for the benefits are that the parent or parents must have earned enough credits under the SSA. Both biological and adopted children and even step-children are eligible for the SSA benefits if they conform to the following criteria.
They must have a retired or disabled parent eligible for Social Security benefits. They must be below eighteen. If they are high-school students, an allowance of one year is made. For higher ages up to 22 years, an allowance is made for disability provided the disability is set in before they turned 22.