Honoring the Civil Rights Act’s Legacy Through Equitable Service | SSA (2024)

Honoring the Civil Rights Act’s Legacy Through Equitable Service | SSA (1)

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July 2, 2024 •By Sherronda Sheppard, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner and Kilolo Kijakazi, Ph.D., M.S.W. Principal Senior Advisor to the Commissioner

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Last Updated:July 3, 2024

Honoring the Civil Rights Act’s Legacy Through Equitable Service | SSA (2)Six decades ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ushered in a new era of equality and justice for all Americans. This landmark legislation was intended to dismantle racial segregation and advanced equity for all Americans, by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

As we commemorate the Act’s 60th anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding its principles and ensuring equitable access to all our programs and services.

Social Security’s role in desegregating hospitals: A pivotal achievement

Social Security Administration (SSA) implemented the Medicare program when it was established in 1965 as a hospital insurance program for people aged 65 and older. The agency played a crucial role in one of the Act’s most significant accomplishments — desegregation of hospitals. SSA enforced compliance with Title VI of the Act, which prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs. As a result, more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide desegregated by July 1966. To measure the impact, in its first year, Medicare provided health insurance to 19.1 million people aged 65 and older. 

Lasting impact and continued progress

The Civil Rights Act’s impact extended far beyond hospital desegregation. Its principles have guided our efforts to promote fairness and inclusivity across our programs and services. Through strategies outlined in the SSA Equity Action Plan 2023 Update, we continue to reduce systemic barriers by:

  • Improving Access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Beginning September 30, 2024, approximately 7.5 million people who receive SSI may get higher monthly payments or additional housing support. Other adults and children with limited income and resources may now be eligible for SSI. That’s because we are expanding SSI eligibility criteria by updating the public assistance household definition, removing food from in-kind support and maintenance, and expanding rental subsidy nationwide. To hear Commissioner Martin O’Malley’s recent message about SSI, we invite you to watch a short video.

  • Improving Access for Customers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP): We have made it easier for the country’s approximately 26 million people with LEP to access our services by launching an LEP Toolkit and publishing our first Native Language Action Plan.
  • Addressing SSI Underpayments: Earlier this year we streamlined processes and updated policy to address underpayments. As of April 2024, we released over $169 million in SSI underpayments to over 152,000 people and decreased initial processing time by 170 days.
  • Increasing Awareness of Survivors Benefits: We targeted outreach to increase awareness of, and applications for, survivors benefits for the estimated 1 in 20 children in the United States who have lost a parent by age 16, and approximately 5.5% of the population who are surviving spouses (approximately 15 million surviving spouses), including those divorced, aged 60 and older.
  • Increasing Race and Ethnicity Data Collection: We contracted with vital statistics bureaus in 7 states and territories to provide race and ethnicity data through our Enumeration at Birth (EAB) program. About 99% of Social Security numbers are assigned to newborns through the EAB program. The new data will help improve monitoring and address disparities from birth, fostering long-term equity in service delivery.

Honoring the past, shaping the future

We celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and honor the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. At the same time, we remain committed to equity while shaping a future of dignity and respect for everyone, regardless of background or circ*mstances. Please take a moment to read President Biden’s Proclamation.

We invite you to learn more about Social Security, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and ways you can support our equity initiatives.

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About the Author

Honoring the Civil Rights Act’s Legacy Through Equitable Service | SSA (4)

Kilolo Kijakazi, Ph.D., M.S.W. Principal Senior Advisor to the Commissioner

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  1. Joann V.

    Wait a minute,I have sat here a read your remarks about those collecting Ssi ssa, food stamps Taft etc . What about the white an black for that matter people who worked most of their lives an got sick mentally or physically an just can’t work anymore ,u mean to tell me we are just supposed to turn the other way while they starve or aren’t able to get the medical attention that they need because they can’t afford it that’s not the America I grew up in .This Still is America people

    Reply
    • JERRY M.

      If those you are speaking about did actually work and pay into the Social Security program, and they are totally disabled, they might be able to get the Social Security Disability benefits. But, for anyone who wants to get SSI, SSI-DI, or any type of welfare benefits, they must not be allowed to live off the U.S. Government welfare type programs, or the tax paying citizens of the USA.

      Most people who get some type of government disability have lied and cheated to get benefits from the government programs. These are the liars, persons who just do not want to work, or maybe have never tried to work on a continuous basis. These are the ones who cheat America and should not be allowed to live off taxpayers.

      Reply
  2. It’s very unfortunate that a program that was meant to right the continued bias wrongs in America has been once again stopped. Agitated people like the one writing in all caps, are some of the misguided people, ready to throw hate, and lies in all directions. It’s unfortunate that we must choose between a convict and a elderly former supporter of locking up everyone for life under the three strike rule. So many are divided and think the other side is the problem, when in actuality, the common sense American doesn’t want filth, homelessness, crime, and welfare. Nor do they desire to see billions being sent to Ukraine, Israel and other countries. We think it’s prudent to have secured borders and ruling for those desiring to be Americans to assimilate and not create subsets across the nation, of those attributes they so desperately escaped. On the other hand, we deserve a leader free of scandal and collusion, nepotism, and sedition. It’s okay to be a proud Caucasion, African American, Asian, Latin, and others. Just know, that until the system is transparent in pay, we will continue to need services to ensure other cultures get a fair shake. Dispelling Social security, and feeding the poor through food stamps, and providing Medicare isn’t handouts, it’s humanity to those that just need a helping hand. If we counted the money we gave to other nations, while growing our debt to China, we could have had free healthcare, four year college, and greater disciplined society with mandatory enlistment of two years of service in the Armed Services.

    Reply
    • JERRY M.

      We pay for our Medicare throughout our working careers, so Medicare is not welfare, but Medicaid is all welfare, which should not be because U.S. tax paying citizens are having to pay for Medicaid. Mexicans, foreigners, Latinos, illegal aliens, white low income persons, blacks, Haitians, nonworking persons all get free Medicaid. Medicaid is enomously expensive to taxpayers.

      Anyone who cannot speak English in America should not be getting any type of government benefits or assistance. It is not alright to create special segments for special groups based on their current cultures, or previous cultures in the countries from which they came to U.S. The U.S. was established to be one nation and one culture, and that is American. If anybody wants to claim they are some culture other than American, then they do not belong in USA. Try being another culture in the U.S. ARMY, THEN SEE HOW FAR THAT GETS YOU!

      We do not need African Americans, Mexican Americans, White Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, Haitian Americans, P. Rican Americans, Israili Americans, Palestinian Americans, Indian Americans. We in USA are either Americans or we are nothing.

      Nobody, including U.S. tax paying citizens, should be mentally, financially, or otherwise supporting other individuals or families living in USA. If we create the good jobs we need to create and get all our companies, money and jobs back into America people will have good jobs, but there are too many people who do not want a job, or do not want to work for their own living-instead they want to live off welfare programs, welfare SSI, Mediaid, free food, free schooling, free school meals, etc. We do not want any freeloaders in USA. Every peron who has come across our U.S. border illegally is a welfare sucking freeloader who gets all of our welfare benefits, freebies, Medicaid, free health care, etc. while somebody in their household works for CASH MONEY, THEN HIDE THE CASH MONEY SO THE FAMILY, OR GROUP, GETS ALL THEIR WELFARE BENEFITS. SO THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE STEALING AMERICAN TAXES AND OUR INDIVIDUAL MONEY THAT WE TAX PAYING PERSONS SHOULD BE KEEPING BECAUSE WE EARNED THE MONEY. NO MORE CHEATING AND LYING TO LIVE OFF U.S. GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS.

      THERE MUST NOT BE ANY SO-CALLED FAIR SHAKES FOR OTHER CULTURES IN USA. The United States of America is not here to support foreigners or other illegals, Mexicans, Latinos, white trash lazy welfare recipients, etc. We in America believe in fully supporting ourselves, and our own families.

      People living in USA, and those coming into USA, need much education regarding U.S. history, civics, family structures, on how to earn an honest living and how to work without stealing from taxpayers by getting on welfare programs, SSI, Medicaid, government freebies.

      Over one-half the people living in U.S. now are getting some, or all of, the welfare benefits, SSI, Medicaid, free schooling, free school meals, free USDA food, free food from government supported food banks. What we have in USA now is a population of freeloaders who are nothing less than full-blown Marxist-Communists who seek re-distribution of incomes, assets, etc. from working, investing persons to the welfare recipients and illegal aliens, immigrants who do not belong in USA. Anyone who comes to USA, or is already in USA, and has not assimilated fully into the American ONLY culture should not be living in our USA.

      Reply
      • Tony

        Medicare is welfare. You haven’t paid for it. Your employer has to pay half of it and half of your social security taxes. Every employer has to pay half of their employee social security and Medicare taxes.

        Medicare is a worse ponzi scheme than Social Security that will go broke in 2028.

        Jerry is a welfare junkie.

        The Republicans will cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. I will be laughing at Jerry once his welfare benefits get cut.

        Reply
        • JERRY M.

          Tony: Shut up you idiot Marxist Tony. Medicare is not any type of welfare program, and Medicare never has been a welfare program. But the Medicaid, SSI, SSI-DI, SNAP, TANF, WIC, CHIP, USDA free food, free school meals, free schooling, free student loans, etc. the crooked Biden administration gives away to welfare sucking leaches like you IS ALL WELFARE assistance and free government giveaways fully paid for by us tax paying citizens. Go to work. I have a big cotton field waiting for you. Go back to Africa so we tax paying citizens do not have to spend our money for you to eat free on us. You are the sorriest of the sorriest among many degenerate persons we have living in the Marxist USA now! We will starve you all out in the next few years. It will be fun watching you sorrys pull cotton boles again and tend to the plantation owner’s kids again. Tony, learn how to be a good tax paying citizen, and get off all the U.S. welfare programs, SSI, Medicaid, SNAP, etc. We do not need people in USA like you to support.

          Reply
  3. JERRY M.

    SSI, WELFARE PROGARMS, FREE MEDICAID, SNAP, WIC, TANF, CHIP, FREE GOVERNMENT FUNDED FOOD BANKS, SHOULD NOT EXIST. EVERYONE MUST WORK TO EAT AND LIVE IN OUR USA. WE ARE NOT A COMMUNIST COUNTRY YET.

    NOBODY GETTING SSI, SSI-DI, WELFARE BENEFITS SHOULD GET ANY KIND OF INCREASES IN PAY, BENEFITS OR OTHER FORMS OF GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. EVERYONE WHO GETS SSI, WELFARE BENEFITS, MEDICAID HAVE LIED AND CHEATED TO GET THE PAYMENTS OR BENEFITS. THEY ARE ALL STEALING MONEY FROM TAX PAYING CITIZENS. 50% OF U.S. CITIZENS ARE PAYING ALL THE FEDERAL INCOME TAXES TO SUPPORT 100% OF THE U.S. CITIZENS, PLUS ALL THE ILLEGAL ALIENS, DACAS, MEXICANS, FOREIGNERS, HAITIANS, YOUNG WELFARE SUCKING BLACK AND MEXICAN WOMEN, CROOKED WELFARE STEALING SINGLE MOTHERS AND LYING CHEATING WHITE TRASH LAZY MEN WHO DO NOT WANT TO WORK! WE WILL ELIMINATE ALL FORMS OF SSI, WELFARE PROGRAMS, ETC. BECAUSE THE USA DOES NOT HAVE ANY MONEY LEFT TO FUND THESE DISHONEST, WASTEFUL PROGRAMS. TAX PAYING U.S. CITIZENS ARE NOT GOING TO PAY ANYMORE TAXES, FOR ANY REASON. THERE WILL BE NO MORE MONEY LEFT IN JUST A SHORT NUMBER OF YEARS, SO ALL WELFARE BENEFITS, SSI, MEDICAID, ETC. WILL BE COMPLETELY CANCEL DUE TO A U.S. THAT IS BANKRUPTED BY THE MARXIST-COMMUNIST DEMOCRATS WHO LIE, CHEAT AND STEAL TO GET WELFARE BENEFITS, SSI, MEDICAID, OR AS IN THE CASE OF POLITICIANS, TO STEAL VOTES FROM WELFARE SUCKING MEXICANS, BLACKS, WHITE TRASH WHO ARE NOT HONEST ENOUGH TO WORK AND EARN THEIR OWN LIVING FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

    Reply
    • Freddie K.

      Jerry, are you using any of these services you mention? I assume you are, and that’s how you are privvy to this platform. I can sense your frustration and how you disapprove of things. I will not judge if you are right are wrong. I just want to ask, what would you have the government do, other than to just stop all the programs? How would you address those that would slide further in dispair? It’s one thing to complain, and another thing to have a solution to a apparent problem.

      Reply
      • JERRY M.

        Freddie K.: I am not a welfare thief, or an SSI recipient. No, you are wrong, nobody has to been getting any government benefits to be on this blog.

        I would never lie, cheat and steal to get on welfare, etc. like you have, so do not be accusing anyone of doing anything that really is not true. You are not smart enough, or knowledgeable enough to talk about what anybody else does, so, if I were you I would not talk again until you can learn what is what about the blogs. There are plenty of solutions to our welfare crooked society and our lack of jobs and we know what the solutions are but the lazy welfare sucking people do not want to work, but they do think it is acceptable to steal benefits and taxpayer money. We already know who the people are who are stealing the money and benefits. It is just a matter of time until these people are caught and gotten off the welfare, SSI, Medicaid roles because now there are computerized systems that will clearly determine those stealing benefits, those making CASH money and hiding CASH stashes, etc. So, times are changing, the thieves will pay back what they have stolen from honest tax paying U.S. citizens.

        Reply
  4. Tony

    The majority of people on SSDI/SSI are Whites. My friend Jerry has to work and pay taxes to support his people.

    Reply
    • JERRY M.

      Tony: You are a sorry welfare sucking SSI recipient. You do not deserve to live in USA, and certainly should be prosecuted for stealing welfare benefits and SSI from tax paying citizens. You do not know anything about who gets SSI, etc. All you know is you want to steal more money from those who actually pay the taxes in USA. Sorry person Tony, stop emailing foolish emails.

      Reply
  5. vickie

    i am glad that the civil rights act took place. president johnson’s legacy. i believe this right is for all people of every creed color religion all of it. i believe it unites us all and i do wish that all people would come together as AMERICANS…and be grateful that we have such freedoms because many countries do not.

    Reply
    • JERRY M.

      President Johnson, and other crooked government officials, along with other vote buying politicians, are caused the all the waste we now have due to government welfare assistance programs, including the illicit, dishonest SSI programs. And, Johnson’s so-called poverty welfare rewarding programs caused complete deterioration of our family structures because people did not marry, or they got divorced, so the mother of kids would get welfare benefits, food stamps, etc. So, many kids were not raised with morals and work ethics. Now we are paying the societal cost of not having children raised in families who were working and making their own honest livings. Welfare programs, SSI, free Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, TANF, CHIP, FREE FOOD BANKS, FREE STUDENT LOANS, FREE INTERNET, FREE HEALTH CARE, FREE HEALTH INSURANCE, ETC. MUST BE ABOLISHED. WE MUST BRING ALL OUR FACTORIES, BUSSINESSES, COMPANIES, GOOD JOBS, MONEY, WORKERS, INVESTMENTS BACK INTO THE USA WHERE WE INCREASE THE NUMBERS OF GOOD PAYING JOBS DRASTICALLY! THE USA NEEDS FULL EMPLOYMENT SO EVERYONE CAN HAVE BETTER JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESSES THAT REWARD THEIR INDIVIDUAL WORK! EVERYONE MUST GET OFF ALL THE WELFARE PROGRAMS, SSI, MEDICAID, ETC. SO WE HAVE FULL EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT ANY TYPE OF WELFARE BENEFITS, SSI OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT PIG FEED TROUGHS THE JOHNSON ADMINISTRATION CREATED.

      Reply
    • JERRY M.

      Glad sorry people like President Johnson and King are permanently gone from our free, capitalistic USA. They were sorry persons who implemented welfare programs, etc. just so they would benefits from getting votes, and money in King’s case.

      We honest people who do not lie, cheat and steal to get on all the SSI, welfare programs and free Medicaid, etc. will prevail in eliminating all welfare programs, SSI, free Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, WIC, CHIP, etc. that all foreigners, Mexicans, Latinos, white trash welfare recipients and welfare blacks are living off of now. We have a U.S. society loaded with ignorant, dumb and illicit persons who are true leaches on society and on the entire world. We must eliminate all this class of people in USA and bring future generations into a much better economy with much better paying jobs so we have, mostly, a MIDDLE CLASS in USA rather than the low class welfare sucking groups we have now.

      Reply

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