SSI benefits are being reviewed by Congress

Dec 01, 2011
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This month Congress is reviewing SSI benefit standards for children. It appears that recent reports have indicated that some parents have sought SSI benefits to increase their monthly income rather than to serve the needs of their dependent children.

Arguments for and against reducing SSI payments are being collected.

In favor of continuing SSI coverage:

  • The number of children for whom coverage is being sought is a reflection of the increase in number of children newly diagnosed.
  • Parents’ budgets are already stretched with additional childcare costs. They need assistance on medication and therapy expenses.
  • Children from lower income homes should be covered for expenses related to a disability as their privately insured peers are covered.

In favor of reducing SSI coverage:

  • Children who are identified as having a disability will become part of the system so young. It could be that they will face lifelong barriers to performance based largely on social beliefs about disability, when they could overcome the original delays and reach parity with peers.
  • Some parents are known to seek SSI funding for their children simply to add a few hundred dollars to the family budge each month.
  • Some parents who have to get along without SSI have to cut their work hours so that the child will not lose Medicaid.

A question that remains unanswered as of now is whether the applications for new SSI benefits are similar in number to the increase in new diagnoses of disabilities among children. Another unknown is the number of children/families who need and deserve the funding assistance but they are not able to figure out the system well enough to apply.

A GAO report will be coming out soon, and Congress will review that report to make decisions on the type of coverage SSI will provide in the future.

An interesting blog on the topic can be found at:

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/10/28/congress-childrens-ssi/14328/

Author: Tanya