Social Security Administration Chief: ‘SSI Program Is Flawed’

On Monday Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue admitted to The Boston Globe during an editorial board meeting that there are significant problems with the agency’s $10 billion children’s disability program.

Astrue said he is seeking congressional approval to conduct an independent $10 million scientific study of the program and that he’d like the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine to orchestrate the study.

The study’s findings, Asture hopes, would provide a platform for changing the children’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which was created in 1972 and which he calls “problematic.”

Astrue’s comments come in response to The Boston Globe’s “The Other Welfare” article series, which showed how the program has evolved from one that benefits children with severe physical disabilities to now largely benefiting kids with behavioral, learning, and mental disorders.

Perhaps the most alarming finding in the Globe report is that some children have been given psychotropic medications specifically to increase their chances of qualifying for SSI, which can pay up to $700 a month per child.

The Globe pointed out that there are 1.2 million low-income children collecting SSI benefits. Fifty-three percent of these children qualify because of mental disabilities. This figure has climbed eight percent since 1990.

Do you think that the children’s SSI program is troubled?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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