TITLE: Support for Modernization Legislation of the Supplemental Security Income Program
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and few resources. SSI is for people age 65 and older, as well as blind or disabled people of any age, including children; and
WHEREAS, over 50 percent of the AI/AN population aged 62-67 are projected to have some work limitation. Research has shown that adult AI/ANs are more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income and less likely to receive Social Security benefits. These numbers are projected to increase; and
WHEREAS, for about 60% of recipients, the SSI program is their only source of income. The maximum benefit is little more than $700 a month. The financial constraints are so stiff that a growing number of older SSI recipients are homeless.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby supports legislation that updates statutory provisions in the program which are out of date concerning earned income, general income, resources, and helps the Social Security Administration streamline the claims process to support vulnerable AI/ANs and provide a more secure quality of life; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.