Disabled and Poor in the Bay Area: How SSI and SSDI Beneficiaries Work Around and Within Current Labor Incentive Programs


Katie Savin: 0000-0001-8155-0749


Social Work


The relationship between disability and labor is complex and multidimensional. Disability can be viewed as both a discursive category, and as a social relation that is actively organized and coordinated through relations of power, similar to race, class, and gender. Thus, disability, as a social category, shapes how individuals both produce and consume labor. Structural and individual-level barriers to the labor market participation of individuals with disabilities have led to their dramatic unemployment/underemployment rates. This lack of participation in the labor market has simultaneously resulted in and maintained the belief that individuals with disabilities are ‘unfit’ labor producers--furthering their occupational and social segregation. People with disabilities also rely on the labor produced by others (such as caregivers, personal assistants, family members, surrogate mothers, friends, partners, and others) to fully participate in social life. This type of labor is often unpaid and goes unrecognized. To examine the relationship between disability and labor, this session seeks papers that cover a wide range of topics including: the exploration of structural and individual-level barriers to labor market/economic participation, intersectionality, dilemmas related to consumption of labor, the unpaid/unrecognized nature of care work, workplace experiences (both of people with disabilities as employers and as employees), and how policies and texts shape the experiences of people with disabilities as both labor producers and consumers. We define text as both discourses (in the Foucaldian sense) and various other texts (collective agreements, codes of ethics, even mundane ‘texts’ such as bus schedules, computer interfaces, etc.)

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date


Publication Title

2019 Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting, Disability & Labor session

Conference Dates

August 9-11, 2019

Conference Location

New York, NY

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