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Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy on Income Inequality

  January 13, 2022 | By Faigy Gilder, NOSSCR

While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is best-known for his activism fighting racial injustice, he had an equally powerful commitment to righting economic inequalities.

In his Nobel Peace Prize lecture in the winter of 1964, Dr. King said “This problem of poverty is not only seen in the class division between the highly developed industrial nations and the so-called underdeveloped nations; it is seen in the great economic gaps within the rich nations themselves.”

America is one such nation with a wide, and growing, gap. The COVID-19 pandemic is approaching its two-year mark and has wreaked havoc on the lower class while enriching the affluent few. To address this growing inequality that Dr. King called us to address more than 50 years ago, protecting and improving our Social Security programs is essential.

Social Security is our nation’s leader in closing the economic gap. It lifts more Americans out of poverty than any other program in the United States. It also goes a long way in protecting particularly vulnerable groups, including people of color and women. It would be difficult to overstate its importance.

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it,” Dr. King continued in his speech. “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation.”

Here at NOSSCR, we could not agree more.

We work on behalf of the due process and economic rights of disability benefit claimants, and their representatives, every day. People living with disabilities are America’s largest minority – about one in four adults live with a disability – and those who can no longer work are among the most vulnerable. We’re working to remove the five-month wait for disability benefits and the 29-month wait for Medicare eligibility for those who are approved as that is time without income and healthcare they cannot afford. We’re working to raise the fee cap so that it is sustainable for qualified attorneys and representatives to specialize in representing the rights of people with disabilities throughout their application and appeal processes. We’re working with our friends and allies to advocate for improvements to our country’s Social Security disability system to ensure it is sufficiently helping those who need it and will be able to for decades to come.

Our nation is filled with compassionate people who support an equitable system, and we have the privilege of serving thousands of representatives who are among them. The values Dr. King brought to the fore of our national consciousness reside in our ethos to this day. May the memory of Dr. King continue to bend the long arc of justice towards those who need it most.

 

This post is in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in advance of MLK Day on Monday, January 17, 2022. 

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