Benefitting from violence: A preliminary analysis of the presence of abuse in the lives of the new SSI disability recipients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of individuals receiving benefits under the two disability programs that Social Security administers has increased dramatically over the past 25 years. This growth has generated hostility toward Social Security disability program recipients. To test the hypothesis that Social Security disability's recently awarded recipients may be undeserving of the benefits to which they have become entitled, fifty-three case files of new Supplemental Security Income disability recipients were analyzed to unmask what may lie behind their impairments. Particular emphasis was placed on whether recipients cases revealed a history of childhood or adult abuse - a feature which has been almost completely neglected by policymakers when determining who should and should not qualify for disability eligibility. In this small sample of cases, taken from Contra Costa County, California, childhood and adult abuse was a prevalent feature in the lives of these recently qualified SSI recipients. These findings suggest that if larger, more representative studies bear out similar results, that domestic violence and abuse activists may be well advised to unite with disability advocates to ensure the protection of SSI eligibility for applicants suffering from abuse- induced mental impairments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Addiction
  • Advocacy
  • Childhood sexual or physical abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental disability
  • SSI eligibility
  • Social Security disability programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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