The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a 394 page report on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children with mental disorders. The study was commissioned by the Social Security Administration. Here are some findings from the report that stuck out to me:
- The percentage of poor children drawing SSI decreased from 2004 to 2013.
- The total number of children drawing SSI increased from 2004 to 2013. The increase in the number of children receiving SSI due to mental illness closely matched the increase in the number of children receiving SSI due to physical conditions.
- Roughly 60% of children who are likely eligible for SSI due to intellectual disability receive SSI. The percentage is decreasing. At the same time there has been a significant increase in the number of children qualifying for benefits due to autism spectrum disorder. These two trends may be related. Children who once would have been diagnosed with intellectual disability are now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
- Only about 3% of children who are potentially eligible for SSI benefits due to a mood disorder (usually bipolar disorder) are receiving SSI benefits.
- Approximately half of all children receiving SSI were found disabled due to a mental disorder.
- There is considerable variation from state to state in the rate at which SSI claims are filed for children based up on mental illness and the rate at which these claims are approved. The number of claims approved per 100,000 poor children ranges from 107 in Nevada to 744 in Pennsylvania. There's a pronounced geographic tilt. A far greater number of children apply for and qualify for benefits in the Eastern half of the United States than the West. I really wish that I could display the chart and map here but the report in a format that makes this impossible, at least for me. They're on pages 76 and 77 of the report. If you go to the report, do not miss these pages!
- Between 2004 and 2013 the average rate of child SSI determinations decreased by 2%. However, the rate increased by 48% in Rhode Island but decreased by one-third or more in Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas and Nevada.
- Diagnosis of mental illness was significantly more common in white children than in African American or Hispanic children. The rate was lowest for Asian-American children.