Cutting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Hurts Mentally Ill Children – Guest Author
The Bipolar Burble welcomes today’s guest writer, Allison Gamble. She provides resources about psychology degrees.
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a federal program that supplements income in order to help the elderly and disabled, including those with a mental illness, pay for food, clothing, health care and shelter. [push]Many who receive SSI money are children with diagnosed mental illnesses without any access to health insurance. SSI covers adults with similar conditions.[/push]
Unfortunately, recent economic proposals force many of these individuals to face reduced SSI funds or a complete cessation of aid. This would mean adequate medical and therapeutic treatment would disappear, income support for their families would be gone, and, all in all, this would represent a huge step backwards for those affected by mental illness.
Controversy Over Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Funding
Controversy over SSI funds has been brewing in recent months. Most critics’ main concern centers on aid provided to families who have children qualified to receive SSI moneys. One expose dubbed SSI “the other welfare,” alleging, among other things, that some families are medicating their children not out of medical necessity, but in an effort to obtain government assistance. The incentives to do so are considerable, argue the critics:
- SSI doesn’t come with time limits
- SSI doesn’t require those who receive benefits to be employed or to even be looking for work
- More money is typically available through SSI than through welfare
Cutting Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
[push]People who rely on SSI assistance to provide care for their children are opposing the proposed cuts. Many people on SSI are traveling to Washington to lobby lawmakers and provide testimony about the positive effect receiving SSI funds has had on their children’s quality of life.[/push]
Those who believe families are receiving SSI funding for fraudulent reasons are now looking to slash SSI benefits for everyone. Republicans in Congress have put forth two resolutions seeking such cuts. They claim the government could save considerable money by reducing incentives for parents to place their children in positions to receive SSI funds, believing parents are making their children appear disabled, or more insidiously, disabling their children or putting them on unneeded psychiatric medication, in order to collect benefits.
Effects of Cutting the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If the proposed cuts to SSI are approved, they will largely affect children, particularly children with a mental illness. Conditions covered by SSI benefits include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Long-term illness
- Physical disabilities
Most of these children come from families living well below the poverty line and without adequate (or any) health insurance coverage. SSI money may be helping these children receive the specialized care they require to maintain their physical and mental well-being.
How to Protect Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
One of the best ways to spread the word and advocate against SSI cuts is to get in touch with local charitable organizations. Support groups, charities and foundations aimed at providing assistance and advocacy for such mental illness can all be rallied to support SSI. They may also have resources and materials to facilitate advocacy for the need to continue to support SSI even during financially challenging times.
SSI provides a fundamental and necessary service for millions of children across the country. Without it, an entire generation of sick children stands to suffer a reduction in quality of life if they can no longer receive the specialized care they require. Families struggling at or below the poverty line have a legitimate need for this valuable governmental assistance.
About Allison Gamble
Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing with psychologydegree.net.