Posts Tagged "rural areas"
February 23, 2023
Broadband in High Disability Areas is Subpar
The Internet has become a necessity in our modern society. Yet 42 million Americans live in areas of the country where the connections to technology are subpar or, in extreme cases, nonexistent.
At the same time, federal and state governments are increasingly relying on people to interact with them online. This mismatch between a growing reliance on the Internet and a lack of easy access is a problem for one especially vulnerable population: people with disabilities.
Without access to a fast reliable Internet connection, it can be very difficult to apply online to Social Security for disability benefits or to file the periodic reports the agency requires of people who are receiving them.
In a recent report, the Urban Institute found that counties with high rates of residents getting Social Security Disability Insurance are less likely to have access to computers, the Internet, or high-speed broadband to get the government services they need. For example, millions of people living in 1,887 mostly rural counties do not have a Social Security field office where they can meet with agency staff and, at the same time, may lack a reliable broadband connection to go online.
Poor connectivity became an even bigger problem during COVID when Social Security closed its offices, forcing customers to use phone apps and computerized transactions in place of in-person contact. (Most of the offices have now reopened.) …Learn More