Some of its critics refer to it as “the other welfare.” Congressional members of a subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee are considering possible cuts to Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits for disabled children. SSI benefits for children with disabilities became a popular target for critics after a series of articles last fall from The Boston Globe suggested that lower income families were putting their children on psychiatric medication in order to receive disability benefits. Additional details on proposed changes are available from a Tulsa SSI lawyer.
Chair of the subcommittee, Kentucky Republican Geoff Davis, noted his concern over recent growth in the program. He commented that “SSI today offers monthly checks without any requirement that benefits be spent on helping the child overcome his or her disability.” He also expressed concern that most of the growth in benefits for disabled children was due to mental and behavioral impairments.
The fact that SSI benefits for disabled children has grown, however, does not mean that the growth is entirely due to conniving applicants, as critics seem so quick to suggest. There are undoubtedly some who try to take advantage of the system, but there are more for whom SSI benefits for their disabled children are a lifeline. One woman – a Texas mother of an 8-year-old autistic boy – testified to the subcommittee that without her SSI benefits, she would have been unable to stop working in order to care for her son who also suffers from seizures.
Caring for children with disabilities requires substantially larger amounts of time and money. Some children may require around-the-clock care. Families of these children must somehow care for the children’s special needs while still earning enough money to cover basic necessities as well as additional medical costs; this can be difficult for anyone, especially low-income families.
Have you benefited from the SSI program for disabled children? How did the benefits help you care for your children?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys