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How important are SSI benefits to Tennessee children?

Supplemental Security Income is a program that benefits many poor and disabled Americans, including many Tennessee residents. The government program is extensive, and every year 7 million adults receive more than $50 billion in assistance. Children are also covered by SSI benefits; more than a million children are helped by the program each year. Recent research, however, has shown that when children turn 18 and their SSI benefits end, they often have trouble keeping those SSI benefits because they cannot demonstrate continued need.

An MIT doctoral student and researcher recently investigated the issue and found that many children who can no longer receive SSI benefits suddenly must enter the workforce but end up making even less than the low amounts they received under SSI. Qualifying for the program as an adult is much harder. Only about 60 percent of children who become adults qualify for the same benefits.

Losing such benefits can a serious financial blow. The average annual benefit to those who qualify is $7,700. An individual who no longer qualifies under the program may work more and earn $2,600 more per year, but also has lost $7,700, which means they work more and earn less and tend to remain impoverished with volatile sources of income. While the researcher's study showed that parents worked harder to compensate for income they lost when their benefits stopped, adults who were once in the SSI program as children now had less income capacity as well as fewer opportunities.

Supplemental Security Income may help some poor families and disabled children, but both applying and qualifying for benefits, not to mention keeping them, can be complicated. For this reason, any Tennessee resident who wants to apply for the program should probably get more information so they can better understand all aspects of the SSI program.

Source: Washington Post, "What happens when you take away disability benefits from kids and their parents," Jeff Guo, Dec. 16, 2014

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We serve clients throughout the United States. We charge no fees in disability cases unless we recover benefits for you. To schedule your free consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer, call 800-813-8783 or contact us by email.

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