In what began in the mid 1970's as a small program to help disabled children in the nation's poorest families has reportedly grown to be the nation's largest source for monthly benefits. A recent report from the Boston Globe has chronicled the dramatic growth of the children's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Essentially, more low income parents of disabled children receive SSI benefits than they do traditional welfare. In 2012, $9.7 billion was paid for SSI benefits, while $9 billion was paid for welfare benefits. Last year, $10 billion in SSI was paid out while welfare recipients saw $8.7 billion. Indeed, there are still more welfare recipients across the nation, but children's SSI recipients receive more money on average.
Many people attribute the growth of children's SSI benefits to the relaxation in standards for determining whether a child is disabled, which may include autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders and depression. However, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) which is known for being difficult to diagnose, is largely viewed as the main reason for the growth.
While it has not been viewed as a political issue yet, given how the midterm elections are just over a month away, government spending is likely to be discussed ad nauseam. After all, there are those who believe that it is an alternate welfare system that does not have the same limitations.
Nevertheless, the latest statistics suggest that benefits are available for those who have children who are disabled. Those who have questions about their child's eligibility are encouraged to contact an attorney.