Why We Need SSI for Kids

December 4, 2013

Read about Maziah Mills-Sorrells looks like any other 2-year-old, an animated sprite, all bounce and spirit but who is afflicted with a rare condition known as Klumpke’s palsy.
Maziah has had a paralyzed arm since she was injured during childbirth. Doctors say it’s permanent.  Her parents have applied for and denied benefits.  They have tried and failed to get child-disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Officials won’t comment on why.

Soon the family will be be going to federal court in Philadelphia in yet another attempt to obtain benefits they say they need to live life with a seriously disabled child.

“I won’t give up,” said Mills, 24, who works 50 hours a week at two health-care jobs and lives with Maziah’s father, Raashid Sorrells, also 24, who was just laid off from a fast-food job. Family income is now at $17,000, well below the poverty level.

The Mills-Sorrellses have been attempting to negotiate an opaque and little-understood federal bureaucracy created to help low-income parents pay for the costs of raising a child with severe disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) childhood disability program, part of the Social Security system and created during the Nixon administration, gives around $10 billion a year in benefits to low-income families with children under age 18. Maximum monthly checks are $710.

To receive SSI benefits, a family with two parents can’t have more than $3,000 in assets, and can’t make more than double the poverty level, experts say. (The poverty level for a family of three is $19,530.)

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131105_Disability_of_2-year-old_raises_questions_on_federal_aid_programs.html#OmaCd6ajF9u5q7LP.99

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