Oct 28, 2011

Hearing On SSI Child Benefits

     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.


Anonymous said...

it is more likely than not a case of fraud when a parent on disability benefits has multiple children who all somehow have the same mental illness and thus all obtain ssi.

Anonymous said...

i heard a mom, testifying at a hearing for SSI benefits for one of her children say something like:

"his older brother has ADHD, his sister has learning disabilty and ODD and we don't know what the youngest one has yet"

This is not a direct quote, but the mom was indicating that her two older children were already getting SSI and that she hadn't applied yet for the youngest, but was going to in the near future.

In essence, her family was going to make more money per month on SSI due to child "disability" than many low income, working families. However, it was fairly obvious (based on the record) that most of the alleged "disability" was due to the complete lack of parenting skills displayed by the mother. For example, the child was described as "sweet" and "cooperative" by teachers and examiners but was noted to be defiant and combative by the mom.

Yes, this is just one example, but it's pretty typical based on my experience.

Anonymous said...

Child benefits serve little useful purpose. Any child whose family qualifies for SSI is already receiving Medicaid. If the child has disabilities that require medical care, the care is available through Medicaid. If the child has intellectual disabilities, the school system provides the essential services. While the quality of the care and services may vary from state to state, that is the case for most children whether low-income or middle-income. If child benefits had to actually be spent on services related to the disability, the benefits might be more worthwhile. However, giving the family extra money to buy nicer clothes or video game systems or flat screen tvs is not a worthwhile use of disability funds.

Anonymous said...

At the hearing level, there are a lot of children who suffer from DPS, Dysfunctional Parent Syndrome. It is amazing how often a child is a brat at home but does well in the more structured environment of school. These children do not need disabiity benefits.

Anonymous said...

As an adult with disability,the issue should be whether such children are of legal age to engage in sga work and because of impairment would have unreasonable difficulty with sga.