2/10/2023 – Matthew Borus “Navigating Policy from Below: Managing on SSI and SSDI in Greater Chicago”

Please join us for our first of three disability studies workshop panels this Friday, February 10th.


As always, please reach out to me (ewroberts@gmail.com) if you have any access needs or requests.

Emily Williams

Student Coordinator


Navigating Policy from Below:

Managing on SSI and SSDI in Greater Chicago


Matthew Borus


Friday, February 10th, 3:30pm – Rosenwald 329

Refreshments will be provided.


Abstract: The Social Security Administration’s income support programs for disabled people serve millions of beneficiaries each year.  But the literature on social programs has paid limited attention to these programs, particularly to the lived experience of claimants.  This paper draws on in-depth interviews and participant observation with disabled people in the Chicago area to argue that they manage their benefits through a process of policy navigation from below.  With limited resources and information, clients devote considerable mental and emotional labor to maintaining their eligibility, earning enough money to meet their needs, and dealing with the uncertainty and precarity that frame those tasks.

A note from the scholar: Hi colleagues! I’m grateful for the opportunity to present at the workshop.  Attached is the paper I’m working on.  If you have time to review it, that would be great, though I hope that you’ll still attend if not.  This paper is based on interviews with disabled Social Security beneficiaries.  As it currently stands, it’s more of a poverty-focused paper than a disability paper–not the direction in which I expected it to develop!  I’m grateful for all feedback, with a particular eye to ways to tie it to disability-focused literatures. Thanks, Matt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *