There was a hearing yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Human Resources dealing with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for children. From the written submissions, it appears that the main focus was on the question of why more children are being approved due to mental impairments. Above is an interesting chart from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testimony at the hearing. As you notice the increase in allowances for various diagnoses, also notice the dramatic decline in allowances for mental retardation.
Dr. Richard Burkhauser of Cornell University testified in favor of somehow giving the whole disabled children problem to the states. I don't think I would want to be a low income parent of a disabled child living in Texas if that happened.
David Wittenburg testified on behalf of Mathematica, a major Social Security contractor, in favor of a study of adding educational and work requirements to SSI child benefits. Wow, a contractor that makes its living off doing useless, pointless studies for government agencies testifying in favor of a useless, pointless study. I didn't see that one coming!
A child psychiatrist testified that SSI child's benefits for mental illness are given out as a result of fraud and actually hurt children. Reading her testimony, one has to wonder if she believes that children cannot suffer from serious mental illness. You can certainly argue that SSI children's benefits have their problems but her testimony is way over the top. There is not even a hint at the complexity involved. It's simple to the psychiatrist. It's 100% fraud. SSI children's benefits never help a child. They only hurt.
Jonathan Stein also testified as the token defender of SSI child benefits.