Our story

Scroll through more than 25 years of change that matters.


Era of Welfare Reform

During the Clinton-era push for welfare reform, congressional attacks targeted SSI and SSDI for people with substance use disorders, among the first populations for whom the SSI Coalition would advocate. The coalition also fought to preserve access to Medicaid for Illinois’ general assistance population.

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The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, portrayed as a major welfare reform, eliminated eligibility for SSI for millions of noncitizens, including legal permanent residents and refugees.

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The 100% Campaign

Initiated by the SSI Coalition and the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, the campaign increased Medicaid income eligibility in Illinois from 42% of the federal poverty level to 100%, giving access to 200,000 low-income individuals.

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Without a Net

The first published study attempting to track the impact of cuts to SSI and SSDI on people whose primary disability was substance addiction, this research created a basis for the Coalition’s advocacy.

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Ticket to Work

The SSI Coalition played a role in the development, passage, and implementation of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, the most significant disability employment law since the ADA.

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Project Access

The project was a collaboration with Chicago-area hospitals to increase access to public benefit programs and improve health outcomes of children with severe disabilities hospitalized in neo-natal intensive care units.

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A technical assistance partnership, the National Consortium for Health Systems Development provided state-tailored aid for projects to develop comprehensive health and employment service systems for people with disabilities.

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