May 15, 2017

Trump Proposal Coming On SSI Children's Benefits?

     The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has put out a piece on the importance of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for disabled children. I take it as a sign that they believe that Trump budget proposal will call for ending these benefits. By the way, if that is the proposal, take it seriously but don't get too excited. It wouldn't save much money and would be very difficult to get through the Senate. Think about it. Taking benefits away from disabled kids; how popular would that be, really?


Anonymous said...

The larger question is - beyond providing for free medical insurance for disabled children found financially eligible for SSI, then what is the purpose of providing additional funds for a disabled child that is fundamentally different from providing for the needs of any non-disabled child in a financially-needs household? They would receive free medical insurance in such households regardless of being found to be disabled under SSI. How are these households actually using the SSI money provided for these children and to what extent is this money used to benefit other household and personal expenses? Please consider the help provided (both based on financial needs and other needs from public and private sources) to non-disabled children in such a household for education, food, clothing, shelter, etc. vs. a disabled child. Different and additional and specialized educational and training resources are available at no additional charge for disabled children. A reasonable conversation is necessary to determine a better way to provide for current and future needs for these disabled children. Imagine what might be done specifically for these children if that better way was available!

Anonymous said...

To address two of 10:57's statements:

"Different and additional and specialized educational and training resources are available at no additional charge for disabled children" - such services are severely lacking or non-existent in the poverty stricken areas where most of the SSI children cases I represent live.

"Imagine what might be done specifically for these children if that better way was available" - I have not heard a "better way" being proposed by the republicans besides just cutting. I can't image them "repealing and replacing" the child SSI program with something that will better benefit this population. They're just going to cut it out to help pay for tax cuts.

Anonymous said...

"The *left-wing* Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has put out a piece..."
- fixed it for you, because after all, there is no question that you would put "right-wing" in front of The Heritage Foundation, The American Enterprise Institute, etc.

Anonymous said...

10:57 -- there are many additional expenses for disabled children that Medi-cal does not cover. Furthermore, many of the parents cannot work since they have to take care for their disabled children due to inadequate childcare for their kids or the time needed to take their kids to neverending doctor appointments, physical therapy, recovery from surgery etc. SSI does not pay much but is crucial for some families to survive.

Anonymous said...

I would put "white" in front of heritage foundation.:)

Anonymous said...

Cutting SSI for kids is a political non-starter even though as the first comment notes it probably is a conversation we should have.
When the program was created it was more difficult to get Medicaid or other coverage for children and many of the programs now offered through schools such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and mental health counseling were not available.

Today it truly a cash welfare system because so many of the needs it was intended to pay for are now offered at now cost to the family.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps in more enlightened states, where 10:57 and 1:06 may reside, there MAY be benefit programs which exist. However, the Trump administration and Republicans appear to wish to "reform" Medicaid and turn it over to the states by block grants. This is a thinly veiled beginning to destroy Medicaid so it will not be available. Also, Republican governed states following the ALEC plan of the Koch brothers are busily engaged in destroying the public school systems and the "safety net," so funds will soon NOT be available for the programs that 10:57 and 1:06 cite. If this goes through, the states will be in a race to the bottom. Billionaires need their tax breaks more than kids' families need aid!

Anonymous said...

A few things kids with disabilities can need that cost more than kids without disabilities

diapers and pullups

more medication (over the counter, plus prescription copays)

shoes that fit over AFOs or other braces

specific foods (without allergens, with certain nutrients, pediasure for kids who don't eat solid food, the only bread the kid with autism will eat)

more expensive day care, babysitters, hair cuts, other services because the discount place won't take your kid

home modifications like ramps

more house cleaning stuff because the kid can't tolerate dust or mold or cockroach droppings or germs

a land line because if the power goes out you still might need to call 911 so a cell phone isn't enough

stroller that can hold a heavier kid for those who are slow to walk

more expensive transportation (immunosupressed kids don't do well on buses. Some kids with autism or psychosis or other impairments don't, either. So, taxi or paying a friend to drive).

repairing damage the kid causes to the house (and losing security deposits...which reminds me, having to move because the landlord doesn't understand why I can't make my kid not cry or scream sometimes)

When your kid is in and out of the hospital, or going through the IEP process, or running out of the school and the police and principal need you to come by, you miss work. You don't have time to comparison shop for the carrots that cost 79 cents a pound instead of $1.29 a pound. Some nights you're just eating what you by at the cafeteria and it's close to $10 because the idea of stopping at the grocery store and firing up the stove on the way home from visiting hours is just too much. When your wife calls that she's in an ambulance with your kid, you take an uber and not 2 buses to the hospital. It isn't easy.

So with all of that I think an SSI cash benefit makes sense. But I also think that TANF is woefully underfunded and kids without disabilities need more than they're getting, too.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, 3:17!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the comments of the poster at 3:17. There are some kids whose needs are so expensive and not covered by other sources that SSID is a necessity.

However, the majority of the kids I see are here for ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. With the recent influx of CDRs, it is sickening to see how few parents are spending the money to benefit the kids. Many of them are not getting the medications, being placed into therapy, being enrolled in after school enrichment programs, getting into sports programs to burn off extra energy, receiving tutoring outside at school and on and on. I have seen kids in a CDRs who no longer have an IEP. The parents could work because the kids are in school all day.

With no accountability as to how the funds are spent, I hate seeing so many kids "labeled" disabled just to financially benefit their parents.

Anonymous said...

22:55 and 3:17 got it. I know Mississippi has limited resources for these children. Some schools try hard, and there are services to which one must travel over 100 miles to get. We are not talking about lots of money here. It is a lifeline for families in dire straits. Consider that all services have been cut back (subsidized housing, enrichment programs, etc.) gradually over the years. If it's not a budget buster, why cut it?

Anonymous said...

Serious but politically charged question here...

Does personal responsibility play any part in the discussion about child SSI, TANF, and other welfare programs? Most would agree that having children shouldn't be a privilege reserved only to wealthy people, but where's the line? For families already surviving on a bucket of welfare programs, you'd think that the struggle would be a strong disincentive to having more children. But it isn't.

Is there any way to ensure that these programs are a last resort, and not just a license to reproduce without any financial accountability? It's easy to argue that we shouldn't take benefits from disabled children. But it's not so clear that we should be giving the checks to their parents, without any meaningful oversight. Also, the arguments about parents missing work to care for disabled children don't hold water when the parents have no meaningful work history. SSI doesn't distinguish between parents who can't work and those who never had any intention of working.

Anonymous said...

Poor people reproducing like rabbits! Dammit! Welfare Queens driving their new Cadillacs to the SSI office to sign them up! I wish we could find a formula to limit reproduction of Wall Street bankers who swindle us, take bailouts and give themselves record breaking bonuses. One way to do it is sterilize them like we advocated here not that many decades ago, or you could pursue a more Germanic approach. What mythical, stereotypical, dehumanizing thinking about the poor. I am told constantly what a Christian society this is supposed to be. Would Christ say or think about such things about the poor. Sorry, but I think you should be ashamed of yourself. What trash thinking.

Anonymous said...

@8:39: BRAVO!

Anonymous said...

If you provide decent opportunities for people, birthrates go down.

Anonymous said...


Don't let an attempt to discuss the divisive issues confronting SSI get in the way of a good rant with a half-dozen strawmen. When it's time to discuss welfare seriously, the debate will come down to whether and to what extent society is willing to help people who sometimes refuse to help themselves. If you cite the single mother who works three jobs to make ends meet for her sick child, they'll point to the chain smoking, lottery ticket scratching mother with no work history and several kids. That debate won't go away just because you compare the opposition to Nazis and drop the mic.

It's a good thing you're not the ambassador for indigent people, or SSI would already have been disbanded.

Anonymous said...

I've got a good idea...let's take food, medicine, and decent shelter away from poor disabled kids so rich folks who don't need more money can have a small tax cut! Oh, sorry, the republicans already thought of that.

Anonymous said...

Implement a family max on SSI, takes away the incentive of having more "disabled" kids, I am not referring to actual disabilities, but to the "ADHD" due to lack of parenting.

Anonymous said...

Forty years ago parenting information and birth control information were readily available. Now it isn't. People who already have limitations have less to work with to make good decisions.

Anonymous said...


Your point highlights part of the problem. We're paternalistic enough to assume that poor people are too dumb to realize that birth control exists and kids are expensive. But we're not paternalistic enough to make sure those same people don't spend government funds on things other than their children. Why?

Anonymous said...

Cut children's SSI. Cut funding for public education. Cut funding for medical care. Cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Build prisons.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:43 " Many of them are not getting the medications, being placed into therapy, being enrolled in after school enrichment programs, getting into sports programs to burn off extra energy, receiving tutoring outside at school and on and on."

All that on $733/month! The schools they are in don't offer those programs because the more affluent members of the community do not want to pay a tax increase in the school district. Here they are cutting down BUSES because we cannot afford to run buses to get the kids to school. You want after school enrichment?

While I agree that all of those things would help, you have to understand the reality, the real world reality that more than half of the things you listed do not occur in the real world. And $733 doesn't go that far these days, even the welfare Caddys are being replaced by Sparks.

Anonymous said...

I live in one of the reddest states in the nation.
Schools offer psychological counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy and many kids ONLY get their medications because a parent sends it to school for the school to deal with administering it.

I cannot believe a southern Trump state is that advanced past the rest of the nation.

Yes. There are children with serious disabilities who do not get needed assistance except via SSI.
Yes. There are children who are so disabled that our choices are to subsidize a family member to care for them or to ship them out for warehousing uh institutional care.

Those two categories are not even close to being the majority of recipients.

Child SSI needs to be re-worked to increase the benefits for those two categories while removing the children with ADHD and mild asthma.

We need better TANF benefits. We need bonus benefits to poor families who do the right things like yearly wellness checks, up-to-date immunizations, regular school attendance, and academic progress of children.

Right now if you are below the poverty line you "win" if your child has problems that qualify for disability and "lose" if your child is healthy and of average or better intelligence and doesn't need assistance.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a child with mild asthma approved for SSI, never once, still have to meet the listings.

You appear to have a problem with ADHD, perhaps you believe it is not a real condition, but "something you could beat out of the child like we did in the old days, never had ADHD when I was a kid, you didn't listen we just beat you into submission."

Perhaps that what we should do to underperforming federal employees, I will dig the holes for the whipping posts myself!

Anonymous said...


ADHD is a real condition, but it's an overdiagnosed condition with a questionable distribution across the U.S. It's a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch, just like the spike in the number of fibromyalgia diagnoses from doctors who don't know the first thing about it.