Republican lawmakers have been largely silent on the S.S.I. proposal, though they staunchly oppose the overall reconciliation bill.
Jeffrey Miron, an economist at the libertarian Cato Institute and at Harvard, said the measure was “completely rational given the objectives,” and that the main point of ideological contention was the objectives themselves. He added that S.S.I. was not a major contributor to the deficit.
“If you think that having insufficiently generous programs is a problem, then increasing the benefits indeed addresses the problem,” Mr. Miron said. “Whether it’s good overall and whether a broad range of people would agree we should make the programs more generous is a much harder question.”
Beyond organizers like Ms. Vallas and Mr. Cortland, himself a former S.S.I. recipient, current beneficiaries have begun speaking about how the program’s restrictions affect them.
Felix Guzman, an S.S.I. recipient with autism and schizoaffective disorder, said higher payments could cover speech therapy or communication devices for his 7-year-old son, who is autistic and nonverbal.
“The difference between waiting a month to two months for an item that might help him communicate can make the difference between him meeting a milestone for his disability or not,” Mr. Guzman, 39, said.
Other recipients say they can’t pursue meaningful work because it could cost them their S.S.I. and accompanying Medicaid coverage without providing enough income or insurance to compensate. Some want to test their ability to hold a job, but don’t want to risk having nothing to fall back on if they can’t.