A new program designed to help SSI children

A challenge for any government benefit program is to control costs. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a case in point. The program offers financial support for low-income individuals who are blind or disabled.

Children are eligible for the SSI benefits and it can provide an essential supplement for parents and caregivers who often face many difficult struggles while coping with the costs of doctors and hospital visits, prescription drugs and other healthcare equipment.

From an administrative point of view, these programs can see ever increasing expenses due to beneficiaries being added to the program when they are young (children can be eligible for SSI from birth), and spending their entire life receiving benefits. And allegations of fraud are always being raised as the costs for the programs increase.

One way to help children on SSI become capable of no longer needing the program is to provide them with the education and job training that enables them to obtain work as adults.

A new demonstration initiative, PROMISE (Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income), was announced by the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services and will take place in 11 states.

The program will attempt to coordinate services for children on SSI and improve their education, training and eventual job prospects.

If successful, these demonstration projects could be rolled out in all the states and help children nationwide. It would also provide a benefit to the Social Security Administration by slowing the growth and the expense of the program.