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Election 2010: The 60 to 140 Percent Bite, State-by-State Data on Disability Income, Housing Costs and People with Mental Illness


Housing costs for people living with disabilities who depend on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can consume 60 and 140 percent of that income, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). State-by-state data is featured below.

In the past two weeks, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the nation today is experiencing its greatest level of poverty in 15 years while the gap between rich and poor is bigger ever. But poverty is nothing new for many Americans living with serious mental illness. Mental health—and hope for recovery—must be part of the equation in addressing the nation’s economic crisis. A key factor is the level of disability income relative to basic needs--such as a place to live.

In the fifth alert in an Election 2010 series, NAMI is reminding editors, reporters, bloggers and others to ask candidates to address these facts:

• Depending on the state, the rent for a one-person efficiency apartment may be between 60 and 140 percent of federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), one of the main sources of support for people with disabilities. (Hawaii is a dramatic outlier at 170 percent.)

• SSI support is between 15 and 25 percent of the median income in each state.

• Approximately 35 percent of persons receiving SSI benefits are those with mental illnesses.

• About four million people receive some form of disability income for mental illness. They represent about 18 percent of all people living with mental illness, who compose slightly less than two percent of the nation’s total population.

The data below reveals states’ Supplemental Security Income recipients (SSI) with a serious mental illness, rounded to nearest 1,000; Supplemental Security Income as a percentage of one person median income in 2008 (SSI Income), and percent of Supplemental Security Income needed to rent an efficiency [studio] apartment (SSI Rent).
Source: Social Security Administration Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data (Table 10).

Alabama: 59,000 SSI; 21% SSI Income;75% SSI Rent
Alaska: 4,000 SSI; 23% SSI Income; 69% SSI Rent
Arizona: 37,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 93% Rent
Arkansas: 36,000 SSI; 23% SSI Income; 70% rent
California: 438,000 SSI; 22% SSI Income; 103% Rent
Colorado: 22,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 90% Rent
Connecticut: 20,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 96% Rent
Delaware: 5,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 109% Rent
DC, Washington: 8,000 SSI;17% SSI Income; 157% Rent
Florida: 162,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 119% Rent
Georgia: 77,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income 97% Rent
Hawaii: 8,000 SSI; 15% SSI Income; 170% Rent
Idaho: 9,000 SSI; 21% SSI Income; 72% Rent
Illinois: 94,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 105% Rent
Indiana: 39,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 79% Rent
Iowa: 16,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 68% Rent
Kansas: 15,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 73% Rent
Kentucky: 66,000 SSI; 21% SSI Income; 70% Rent
Louisiana: 59,000 SSI; 22% SSI Income; 92% Rent
Maine: 12,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 84% Rent
Maryland: 36,000 SSI; 13% SSI Income; 131% Rent
Massachusetts: 65,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 119% Rent
Michigan: 85,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 84% Rent
Minnesota: 29,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 75% Rent
Mississippi: 43,000 SSI; 24% SSI Income; 77% Rent
Missouri: 45,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 76% Rent
Montana: 6,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 69% Rent
Nebraska: 9,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 73% Rent
Nevada: 14,000 SSI; 17% SSI Income; 109% Rent
New Hampshire: 6,000 SSI; 16% SSI Income; 100% Rent
New Jersey: 57,000 SSI; 14% SSI Income; 136% Rent
New Mexico: 21,000 SSI; 22% SSI Income; 75% Rent
New York: 234,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 129% Rent
North Carolina: 75,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 84% Rent
North Dakota: 3,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 62% Rent
Ohio: 96,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 74% Rent
Oklahoma: 32,000 SSI; 23% SSI Income; 70% Rent
Oregon: 25,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 84% Rent
Pennsylvania: 121,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 87% Rent
Rhode Island: 11,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 108% Rent
South Carolina: 38,000 SSI; 21% SSI Income; 83% Rent
South Dakota: 5,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 64% Rent
Tennessee: 59,000 SSI; 21% SSI Income; 79% Rent
Texas: 206,000 SSI; 20% SSI Income; 92% Rent
Utah: 9,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 86% Rent
Vermont: 5,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 94% Rent
Virginia: 50,000 SSI; 16% SSI Income; 115% Rent
Washington: 46,000 SSI; 18% SSI Income; 90% Rent
West Virginia: 28,000 SSI; 24% SSI Income; 69% Rent
Wisconsin: 36,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 71% Rent
Wyoming: 2,000 SSI; 19% SSI Income; 75% Rent

Additional Sources:
Jans, L., Stoddard, S. & Kraus, L. (2004). Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability in the United States. An InfoUse Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
O’Hara, A., Cooper, E., Zovistoski, A., and Buttrick, J., Priced Out in 2006: The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities, Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc., Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Housing Task Force, (Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.: 2009)

About NAMI
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy. NAMI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and does not endorse political candidates. Previous NAMI Election Alerts includes: State Grades: 21 Ds, 6 Fs; State Suicide Rates;Top 10 States; Mental Health Cuts; and Number of People w/ Mental Illness in Each State; Percent Served by SMHA. On the web:;;


 level of poverty
 Grading the States
 mental illness
 Mental health

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