In the first part of the series, we touched on an issue facing many teens across the nation who receive Social Security Disability income benefits from the government, but fear finding employment and losing the income that their often indigent families seriously depend on.
The Social Security Administration is not blind to the problem and have stated that it is one of their major concerns but are not sure just how to resolve the issue. In a study conducted by the agency, they found that while the number of children receiving SSI has rapidly increased, the percentage of those teens who reported $250 of income or more has significantly declined from 24 percent in 2000 down to 16 percent in 2005.
Researchers speculate that many of the teens who report less than $250 income in the year before they turn 17 are doing so to increase their chances of qualifying for the adult SSI program. Some are even inaccurately reporting or trying to work fewer hours in the hopes of preserving the necessary income.
One psychologist has worked with hundreds of children when conducting independent disability evaluations annually for the Social Security Administration has cautioned that many of the teens who have been openly raised on disability benefits are unable to see a life without the income. “They develop an identity as being disabled,” the psychiatrist said when talking about a teens inability to believe they can work.
One mother who lives in a community heavily dependent on SSD benefits blames the system for causing teens to feel like they cannot get a job. “These kids don’t want to be dependent,” she explained, “but the system makes them dependent.”
Source: The Boston Globe “A cruel dilemma for those on the cusp of adult life” Patricia Wen 12/14/10