The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for children is an important part of the federal government's social benefits program for children with special needs. The SSI program is a nationwide program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that does the following:
• provides monthly cash payments based on family income,
• qualifies the child for Medicaid health care services in many states, and
• assures referral of SSI child beneficiaries into the state Title V Children With Special Health Care Needs program's system of care.
The SSA considers a child to be disabled if:
• the impairment-physical or mental, or chronic medical condition-is as severe as a condition that would keep an adult from working,
• the condition is expected to last a long time or is life threatening, and
• the child is unable to engage in the everyday activities that most children the same age can do.
Congress implemented the children's component of the SSI program in 1974 in recognition that disabled children who live in low-income households are among the most disadvantaged of all Americans and therefore deserve special assistance. The cost of caring for a child with special needs is an especially heavy burden for families with limited resources. The intent of the SSI program is to reduce the additional deleterious environmental effects that a low family income can have on the growth and development of the disabled child and thereby help these children become self-supporting members of society.
The SSI program provides cash benefits.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics