The Social Security Administration is charged with assessing claims for Social Security Disability benefits and with distributing Social Security retirement benefits. Both of these government entitlement programs help to ensure that ill and injured American adults, as well as elderly Americans past the age of retirement are granted access to a basic income.
However, disabled adults and elderly Americans are not the only members of the American population who risk poverty beyond their control. Families with disabled children often risk financial instability due to the fact that caring for disabled children is often a costly enterprise. Even when ill or injured children are granted access to excellent medical insurance, the out-of-pocket costs associated with caring for disabled children can quickly spiral out of control.
This frustrating reality has prompted a spike in the number of applicants for Supplementary Security Income benefits. This government entitlement program helps to ensure that disabled children and their families are given the opportunity to access a basic income which can be used for necessities and out-of-pocket medical costs, among other financial obligations.
As necessary as this entitlement is for the welfare of disabled children and their families, a controversy has begun to spring up in its wake. According to The Boston Globe, the SSA has distributed approximately $20 billion in SSI aid to disabled children and their families over the last two years. This makes SSI the most substantial program of its kind. Many are arguing that certain disorders and medical conditions, such as ADHD, are undeserving of costly SSI benefits. These naysayers are calling for closer scrutiny of the entitlement program as a whole. Hopefully legislators will see through the hype and will stand up for disabled children and their families by showing continued broad support for the SSI program.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Aid to disabled children now outstrips welfare As SSI expands, debate intensifies,” Patricia Wen, Aug. 28, 2014