Vice President for Family Income Support Policy
As my colleague Kathy Ruffing noted yesterday, the Brookings Institution hosts an event today about improving the effectiveness and efficiency of programs designed to assist poor, disabled children. At the center of the discussion is how to improve the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for children.
SSI provides modest income support to low-income families with disabled children. These payments play an important role in offsetting the increased costs of raising children with disabilities and reducing poverty and material hardship.
As we consider ways to improve long-term outcomes for disabled children, we should build on the stability that SSI provides for families. Weakening SSI would reduce, rather than increase, disabled children’s chances of achieving success in adulthood.
Here are three important facts to remember as we consider how to improve disabled children’s long-term outcomes:
The income support that SSI provides is one component of a larger system of services that are intended to help disabled children succeed in school and successfully transition to adulthood. Removing the assistance that enables families to cover the extra costs associated with raising a disabled child and to escape deep poverty will jeopardize improvement in these children’s long-term outcomes. Instead, the path forward will come by rigorously evaluating the services provided with an eye toward expanding those that are effective and replacing those that are not.