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States Get Millions To Wean Kids Off SSI


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Nearly a dozen states are getting a share of more than $200 million to help improve the long-term prospects of kids with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income.

Demonstration projects in states across the country are being developed to offer coordinated services and supports for children receiving SSI benefits with an eye toward enhancing their education and employment prospects.

Ultimately, the federal effort known as the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income, or PROMISE, initiative is designed to reduce the number of kids on SSI who continue to rely on such benefits as adults.

“All children deserve a chance to achieve their educational and career goals,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The PROMISE initiative provides services and support to help our most at-risk students and their families so that they can focus on their education and a brighter future.”

Specifically, the demonstration projects will provide support to SSI recipients and their families so the children can graduate high school, complete postsecondary education and job training and find competitive employment, officials said.

The initiative is a joint effort of the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

Federal grants totaling over $211 million were awarded for the five-year initiative to Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York and Wisconsin in addition to a consortium of states comprised of Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Arizona.

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Comments (12 Responses)

  1. Matt Parker says:

    I have no problem with this on the face of it, but, why wait until they are in high school. I live in a district where there is no independent provider services closer than 2 hrs away for ABA therapy and the school district staff don’t want to be trained to help and train Autistic children in the regular classroom setting, thus, essentially violating Free and Appropriate Public Education, Least Restrictive Environment and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rights and laws( these are civil rights violations). If we make thr appropriate training MANDATORY then this will provide more positive outcomes than waiting until high school

  2. Vonna Nelson says:

    My daughter is 22 and she has a diagnosis of High Functioning Aspergers. She is capable of working, but it has to be just the right fit. I would love to receive more information on how to help her with educational goals, etc. thank you.

  3. susan goodman says:

    I think “wean” is the wrong word to use. It is to the benefit of people with disabilities and society in general is transition age youth can work and not need to use federal benefits but instead use their skills to be productive members of society.

  4. Sue Keller says:

    If this initiative results in genuine learning and gains, I’m all for it. How exactly will this system work, though? Who will be providing the support and where will it happen, at home or at school? What is the criteria to be in the program?

  5. Whitney says:

    Meaningful education for the Job market will be nice. The problem is public perception of what a cognitive disabilities are and some people do not believe that disabilities get equal pay as non-disabled. AS long as business is not an equal partner and unwilling to hire people disabilities other tax right off or not giving same opportunities. Then all the training will do no good simply because business will hire unqualified person who does not have disability over person who has a disability is qualified. Secondly a person with disability must be able to move to community that can and able to support them instead being isolated to a community where they are born. It has to be done on Business level as well Labor and government must be equal partners or it will be half attempt where it falls short on the goals it is trying promote. We need actual solutions not a feel good program that does not help as intended.

  6. vmgillen says:

    Gotta agree with Matt Parker on this: most of early intervention through high school remains focused on “compliance” – which may SOUND like a good thing for employers, but actually yields someone who best functions in a “sheltered” workshop.

  7. Robin says:

    I have no problem with hiring the disabled…. but 1. can they GET hired getting past the HR office’s tendency to weed out people, and 2. can they be hired at a wage where they can support themselves? You and I know they will be lucky to be hired at more than minimum wage – as long as they can GET hired! Unfortunately many equate being disabled to being cognitively disabled, unable to contribute. please PROVE ME WRONG AND SHOW ME THAT THESE KIDS CAN DO WELL IN A WORKING WORLD AND BE ACCEPTED BY THE EMPLOYERS AS VALUABLE EMPLOYEES. Those employers that DO are few and far between.

  8. Whitney says:

    The problem is still does not identify who work best in what environment and not all shelter work is gear to all segments of one population. Many believe that a shelter work is cure all to multifaceted problem. High functioning autism can benefit from the shelter work program if it is geared towards them by the same token a program meant for high functioning autism will not work for intellectual challenge people who have low I.Q.s and vice verse is true. People think that job for intellectual disabled will work for people high functioning autism should have the same sheltered work. Socio-cognitive disorder does not mean a lower intelligence but a lower social awareness to cues. Since HR insist hiring people who have high level social cue awareness with eye contact and reading emotions as main reason hire a person it pretty much excludes people with Autism. Yet the same people are shocked that the people with autism thrives in technical fields that has very little to do with social cues and reading other people emotions. It never occurred that some people high functioning autism can hack and develop software because it is the attention detail that interest us. It not some people social cues and polite society. Having no social sense means that either retarded or intellectually challenge and I had been called both.

    Socials skills are not trainable in some cases and most people do not want to admit is intuitive or better yet instinctual for people not on the ASD. Human Resources weed people with autism out because we can not read emotions or maintain eye contact. I am not saying this right or wrong but if you are saying that people who maintain eye contact are more honest and some the greatest swindler and con artist would qualify but that not means they are honest. In speaking of social cues and most cases in interview it is not that scripted sure there good portion is but unscripted parts threw us and takes awhile to figure out a response where neurotypical person can do it by instinct.

    Unless the business is part of the solution it is throwing money to a problem and not solve anything. Business needs to compromise in certain areas for solutions like in the HR example I stated above. There is no solution that can solve all the disability face this means you have multifaceted problem with different people who have very different needs it is going take a holistic approach. Which means business, education, and society must come together find the best solution that helps most people

  9. Ralph R says:

    In my opinion, any chance to improve the lives of children with still developing brains and social skills, and at the same time putting $211 million back into SSI is a major accomplishment for the study.

  10. patm says:

    Meaningful job training as well as letting them work more hours, a problem in Illinois, without losing their health care benefits would help. When our very educated young people cannot get life sustaining jobs, how in the heck do we expect disabled people to compete in this ever changing job market? Getting those making more than 110K per year to continue to pay into social security would increase the funding and take care of the problem. Stop trying to peel off the bottom end of those receiving benefits and add more to the top contributing end. It’s a shameful thing that we are doing to our disabled individuals.

  11. Julie VanMeter says:

    As a parent of a child with a disability I would like to see more services such as individual health and fitness programs that are coordinated with therapy programs to prevent future health issues and cost of potential issues in the long road ahead. There is soo much put on the parent (who also has to work to support the family). Most children work harder for coaches and other leaders than mom, dad, or family members. And yes, this is from experience of being young once. Also, trained professionals in these fields have their titles for a reason (their expertise). Studies have proven maintaining health and fitness are the key to one’s physical and mental well being yet many of these preventative services (one-on-one & in teams) are not covered or are limited under many state benefits offered to young ones with disabilities, instead services of in-home care and medical cost are covered at high cost. Group sessions for these children would be nice also for communication and team building skills needed in the work force. If we want our special children to be able to make a living and not off the government system the rest of their lives, they need the skills and tools now….Why is the money not being appropriated for these services or are there more resources I’m not educated on? Concerned parent.

  12. Robin Hansen says:

    I hope California dept of rehab will re-think their programs. They are so strict/cheap about what they offer that the young adults they are supposed to train fail in their meager offerings. They are allowed one semester in a community college, if they get less than a 2.0, they cut off funding. Really?
    My son has spent years trying different educational choices and jobs but his language disability is so severe he has failed in all of them. He has an IQ of 100 so he can succeed with the right support.. Instead of squeezing kids into mainstream cheap alternatives They should work on cognitive and language therapy FIRST before sending them out to mainstream venues where they fail.

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