The federal government’s Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, program is an easy source of cash, many poor families say, acknowledging that they work hard to gain a disability classification for their children and do not fess up if a child outgrows their difficulties.

In recent years, SSI benefits to help poor children with disabilities have increasingly gone to kids with hard to define diagnoses like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and speech delay. Meanwhile, federal records indicate that reviews to ensure beneficiaries continue to qualify for hundreds of dollars in monthly SSI benefits once they’ve been approved are exceedingly rare.

As a result, poor families say that in many communities SSI benefits are seen as a new type of welfare that can be tricky to obtain but once secured, provide an easy source of cash generally for the duration of childhood. In some cases, mothers freely admit that their children who began receiving benefits as toddlers are no longer affected by speech delay, for example, but they say they are not required to inform authorities about the change in status and they don’t intend to.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Social Security officials acknowledge that reviews are not as common as they should be, but say they need more manpower and greater funding to beef up accountability, reports The Boston Globe. To read more click here.