The National Academy of Social Insurance has released a new brief on SSI by Shawn Fremstad and Rebecca Vallas. The brief examines the importance of SSI for families of children with disabilities.
About 8 to 9 percent of children in the United States have a relatively serious disability. Families caring for these children are more likely to experience various economic hardships than other families with children, even when their incomes are the same. Recent research finds that costs associated with raising a disabled child, including lost parental income, average at least $6,150 a year. Costs at the high end, which are more likely to reflect the subset of disabled children who are most impaired, are around $20,000 a year.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—run by the Social Security Administration, but separate from the Social Security program—offsets some of these costs and helps parents provide the basics that children with disabilities need to thrive and become successful adults. In 2012, the maximum monthly SSI supplement was $698 and the average amount received by child beneficiaries was $619. About 1.3 million low-income children with disabilities—fewer than 1 in 4 children with disabilities—received SSI in August 2012. This relatively low number is mostly due to SSI’s means-test and strict disability standard. Recent research finds that SSI increases family economic security, reduces reliance on food stamps and other means-tested assistance, and does not reduce parental employment. Download a full PDF of the brief here.