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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How the Federal Government Keeps Poor Kids Drugged

Ever hear of SSI? Supplementary Security Income is a form of welfare. Recipients, can receive $700/month if their child has certain disabilities. The Boston Globe is doing an indepth piece on the fraud and unintended consequences involved with SSI.

A Globe investigation has found that this Supplemental Security Income program — created by Congress primarily to aid indigent children with severe physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and blindness — now largely serves children with relatively common mental, learning, and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. It has also created, for many needy parents, a financial motive to seek prescriptions for powerful drugs for their children.

And once a family gets on SSI, it can be very hard to let go. The attraction of up to $700 a month in payments, and the near-automatic Medicaid coverage that comes with SSI approval, leads some families to count on a child’s remaining classified as disabled, even as his or her condition may be improving. It also leads many teenage beneficiaries to avoid steps — like taking a job — that might jeopardize the disability check.

Unbelievably this program, originally for kids with severe disabilities, is now going mainly to kids with nervous disorders like ADD and ADHD (53% nationwide!) where they need to be on drugs to qualify for benefits. Hey this is the problem with big government welfare. People abuse the system, and there are always severe unintended consequences - in this case a generation of poor American boys drugged up by the federal government. Good reporting by the Globe.