SSI: The New Welfare, Exempt From “Trigger” Cuts [Reader Post]

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We have all heard lately about the “supercommittee,” its charge, and, if it isn’t successful, pulling the spending “trigger.” Defense has the most to lose from triggered cuts, as this source illustrates. Leon Panetta, head of the Department of Defense (DOD) and no bastion of conservatism, called the trigger “draconian” and “devastating” and said that it will “hollow out” the military. The worst thing, Panetta said, is that the cuts “invite aggression.”

But supercommittee cuts exempt Social Security, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans’ benefits, civilian and military retirement programs, and other programs serving low-income families. Cuts to hospitals, physicians and other Medicare providers are limited to 2 percent.

So let’s examine SSI, a part of Social Security, and exempt from supercommittee cuts. Why SSI? It has become the newest welfare scam. In 1988, there were 4.46 million SSI recipients. In 2011, there are 8 million. The SSI program for children was created mainly for those with severe physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and blindness. But benefits now go primarily to indigent children with behavioral, learning and mental conditions. “This [SSI] has become the new welfare,” said MIT economics professor David Autor.

What is SSI? The SSI program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. It also pays benefits to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. SSI is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues, not Social Security taxes. It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income, and it provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

That sounds pretty good. The original intent of SSI was well intended. But, as with all federal assistance programs, scam artists horned in, particularly in the “disabled” child area. SSI is known as “crazy money” since one must “act crazy” to receive it. Oftentimes several people in the same household, adults and children, collect SSI checks. Easy-to-fake learning, behavioral, and mental disorders are the most common “disabilities,” especially among children, who comprise 55 percent of all cases. More than half who go on SSI as a child, requalify as adults. SSI recipients are not required to get treatment for their or their children’s disabilities. No requalification can be good since it can be harmful for kids to take drugs for fake or exaggerated symptoms. The SSI program for children is rapidly expanding, with the biggest increase among kids with mental, behavioral and learning disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech delays, autism and bipolar disorder.    (Personal note: With kids, how can an adult know if he/she has a “disability?” In my day [I’m 62 years old] we were told to sit down and shut up, otherwise we would get a spanking. Today, rather than administer corporal punishment, it’s easier to drug kids.)     “Accurately diagnosing some types of mental impairments is a complex and often subjective process for [the Social Security Administration], which can sometimes be vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” Daniel Bertoni, from the Government Accountability Office, said.

About what amount of money are we talking? In 2010, the Social Security Administration paid almost $50 billion in SSI benefits. It paid more than $10 billion to 1.2 million disabled children.

And the future doesn’t look any better. Federal statistics show a rise over the past two decades in the number of children who qualify for SSI because of a variety of mental disabilities. The attraction of up to $700 a month in payments, and the near-automatic Medicaid coverage that comes with SSI approval, leads some families to count on a child’s remaining classified as disabled, even as his/her condition may be improving. At a hearing on Thursday, October 27, 2011, federal investigators told members of the U.S. House of Representatives that preliminary findings from their inquiry into the program show that the number of children receiving SSI benefits due to mental disabilities like autism and ADHD is on the rise. At the same time, periodic case reviews to verify continued eligibility for the program are less common.

Though somewhat dated, this source clearly illustrates the problems with SSI and the unintended consequences that can come with massive federal programs. SSI is one of the fastest growing welfare programs in the federal budget. SSI, originally designed to provide a safety net for low-income senior citizens, is now experiencing spectacular growth in recently eligible population groups, including drug addicts, the mentally ill, immigrants, and children. Government projections indicate that between 1990 and 2000 the number of immigrants on SSI will have grown fivefold and the number of drug addicts and alcoholics eightfold.

There is little or no incentive to leave the SSI program. A family of four, all getting SSI checks, could get $32,352 annually, not counting other benefits. Since there is not much most SSI recipients could do to earn a living other than work in fast food for minimum wage, why work when you can watch television all day and collect more in aid? Why bother trying to raise yourself up?

There are, of course, legitimate SSI recipients. After more than a year of violent temper tantrums, and being kicked out of preschool, four year old Hulston Poe was diagnosed with severe ADHD. His mother, Suzanne Poe, who was scraping by as a single parent of two, now receives a monthly SSI check of $674 that helps pay for Hulston’s day care, a private tutor and medicines. Plus he gained access to the doctors he needed.

So can we differentiate between legitimate recipients and scam artists? It’s a shame that the SSI program, as originally intended, must be swept up in all this “trigger” furor. But SSI is one more example of Democrat vote buying at the expense of the Defense Department.

But that’s just my opinion.

18 Responses to “SSI: The New Welfare, Exempt From “Trigger” Cuts [Reader Post]”

  1. 1


    It is all well and good to have some people who need SSI-the question is whether it should be a federal program that calls for an army of well paid bureaucrats and Afscme members to run it. If such a program is needed, it should be run AND FUNDED on the state or local level. At least that would mean a little more supervision than we see on any federal program. America survived before we had the welfare state and Europe is giving us a clear signal where unlimited government spending on welfare programs will lead us. It is going to be pain now or agony later. EIC, ADC, food stamps, etc., etc., have to be ended. We just can’t afford them.

  2. 2

    Nan G

    RWNO guy, I forgot your name.
    But you make some great points.
    People sometimes are actually crazy.
    Rarely, but sometimes, it lasts the rest of their lives.
    I posted a video of a black lady at one of the Occupy rallies.
    She could not get a coherent thought out to save her life!
    Someone like her needs to be taken care of.

    I have also known a woman who, as a teen was raped and had a break from reality afterward.
    She threw things at people and hit them.
    She ended up on SSI disability for life.
    When she was medicated she drooled and slogged around like the world was ankle-deep molassass.
    When she went off her meds she developed pica, the eating disorder where you live on dirt, baby spoons, lukewarm water or any other weird thing.
    She would live on ONE weird thing at a time for weeks, even just the lukewarm water.

    It was the baby silverware that killed her.

    She was in her late forties.
    Perhaps if there were fewer (or NO) fakers in the system she could have gotten better help.
    Who knows.

  3. 3


    So let’s examine SSI, a part of Social Security, and exempt from supercommittee cuts. Why SSI? It has become the newest welfare scam.

    All well-intentioned social programs administered by the Social Security Administration have been drastically altered and enormously expanded by a locust plague of lawyers. You should blame the problems on those profit-oriented litigating parasites–not on the aged, blind, or disabled poor, or on the overwhelmed federal workers who are trying to fight their way through the resultant avalanches of paperwork to do their jobs and serve the public.

  4. 4


    SS as it is now fundamentally alters the relationship that *should* exist between citizen and state.

    They should scrap about 90% of the crap involved with SS and have your money buy government bonds that mature in annual stages starting at age 65.

    That would make the relationship more legitimate…and frankly fair to the citizen who will get paid only what the state decides is fair instead of honest value of accrued input.

    All this business of dumping the SS income into the general fund and having a mandatory amount to pay out…it’s antithetical to both the original intent of the SS retirement supplement *and* the citizen-state relationship that should exist according to the philosophies that founded the nation.

  5. 5


    SS was originally meant for RETIREES who paid into the system, and only them. There is a SS tax. I have been retired for a while and forget what it is called, but I paid into it all of my working life. SS taxes used to go into a SEPARATE account and drew interest. How much would there be there now if it was kept there. Clark Howard said that if a 15 year old would put $2,000 per year in a Wroth IRA for only seven years and leave it there, when they are 65 there would be $1,000,000 in the account for them if the stock market averages what it has since it was created. How much would I have in my account if all of my SS money had gone into an account for me? All the government would have to do is require us to put a small percentage of our income in a retirement plan of our own, but that would mean we could survive without the government, but that would mean the politicians couldn’t use OUR money to buy votes any more.

    Since politicians have their own retirement plan, they use OUR money to buy votes. The more people the politicians can get on welfare, the more votes they are buying. Don’t blame the democrats. The republicans could have put SS back in an interest drawing account, but they chose not to. All three of my Federal representatives are republican and I asked them to introduce a bill to put SS back in a separate account. None of them said they would.

    I think a politician only needs to be in office for one and a half years to get lifetime retirement income and medical care. Why should they worry about us? Make them pay into SS and get no other retirement benefits and it will be different.

    Every Federal assistance program has benefited the politicians more than the people. It’s time to drain the swamp and get rid of the stail water and replace it with ALL new water.

  6. 6



    They likely wouldn’t be able to get things back into a separate account because of all the hell it would raise touching that golden calf.

    If the state is going to effectively borrow our money, then we should each get an actual representation of that instead of what occurs now…a promise to pay what they think is fair. The traditional method for such a transaction is some form of bond.

    That way they still get 1/3 (or so) of their income per year, the citizen gets something real instead of a promise, and the obligation is on the books for all to see as an accounting liability instead of the golden calf.

  7. 7


    @Smorgasbord, #5:

    Clark Howard said that if a 15 year old would put $2,000 per year in a Wroth IRA for only seven years and leave it there, when they are 65 there would be $1,000,000 in the account for them if the stock market averages what it has since it was created.

    Grover Norquist was saying something similar today on CNN: that if every FICA dollar were instead invested in the stock market, everyone would have far more money at retirement age.

    This assertion, of course, doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. It overlooks a fundamental law of economics: The law of supply and demand.

    If the number of available shares of stock proliferated sufficiently to allow everyone in the country to own a sufficient number to cover retirement needs, the growth of that number would almost certainly outpace the growth of the value of the economy. This excess expansion of supply would invariably result in each share having, on the average, a falling real value.

    There are no casinos were everyone is a winner. Forcing cash into the game by privatizing Social Security would certainly benefit Wall Street special interests–much as too-easy consumer credit did previously–but not the average investor. It would just be another phase of the ongoing shakedown of the average person to the benefit of a select few.

  8. 8


    I wonder where all those pension funds that are run in good conscience invest their money…because according to Greg it’s not in the stock market in any form.

    However, I agree superficially — mainly because handing over huge chunks of money to be administered in the people’s name with the Feds “watching” is a recipe for another craptacular-funfest akin to Fannie and Freddie.

    Keep it simple, keep it basic.

  9. 9


    @malize: #6
    You are ASSUMING that the politicians WANT you to get something back. The republicrats in office want it to be like a Tea Party sign I made. To simplify the taxing process, they want to have it where your employer sends your paycheck to the IRS (Internal Redistribution Service) and they will give you what they want you to have.

    That’s how it works for the farmers in Russia. They take there crop to market, then, days later they find out how much they get for it. That is the goal of today’s republicrats.

  10. 10


    @Greg: @Greg: #7
    Even if that would happen, you would still get far more money back than from SS, and nobody gets your money but you: No illegals, children, or adults who didn’t pay into it, and if you would die before you retire, the one or ones you designate gets it, not the republicrats.

  11. 12


    @malize: #11
    The republicrats in office now want as much money from you and me as they can get, or they want to change the USA into something other than a free country, or they want both. I suggest you start caring about what they want. All of my life I never thought about it. Thanks to people like me, the government was allowed to grow into the mess it is now. I am trying to correct my lifelong mistake.

  12. 13


    this is true 4 people get 100,000 check food stamps medicade free houseing My wife has bipolar 2 have been in hospt. 7 time she worked 35 years most of these people are no good bumb

  13. 14


    people if the gov. don,t stop giveing the bumbs this quit your job get a check go to a md tell them uou can,t keep a job they will get you a check we will break the gov if you work you have to worry about bills they need to drug test the bumb if there 3 people you will get $ 500.00 mo food stamps 5 people $900 a mo food stamps this is why people are so fat

  14. 16


    @Dog: #15
    This is why I suggest to people that they move to Mexico, become a Mexican citizen, then sneak across the order into the USA. They will then get a free education, free medical care, and some of them will get a monthly Social Security check that is more than I get after a lifetime of paying into it. ONLY IN AMERICA

  15. 17


    Here’s my dilema.

    I have a 23 year old step-son who figured out that if he wanted to continue to play video games all night and not bother working the best way to do that was to pretend he was a germaphobe. A few trips to the doctor and some unusual hand washing behavior, coupled with a half dozen or so well thought out “outbursts” of craziness and voila’ he gets a check for $695 a month. Now this check is designed to cover his living expenses (food, clothing, housing, etc.) but this kid has it all figured out. Instead, he lives in our basement, protected by his mother who follows him around to make sure he has his food made for him and brought to him in the basement, hands him soap in the shower, hands him towels and picks up every mess he makes all day long. He even has access to the family car and gets all his clothing purchased for him on my dime. Ah what a life.

    But what of the $695 and oh, I forgot to mention the $180 he gets in food assistance. Well he gives the food card to mom so she can buy what he likes at the store. The $695 pays for a cell phone, motorcycle parts, insurance and payments, Guiness beer and trips to the pub as well as cigarettes. Then there’s the subscription to the video game site so he can continue the obsession.

    Why not just kick him out? Easier said than done when you consider the mother. Too many variables to throw out the blanket statement, “Just send him packing”.

    Did I mention he’s NEVER had a job and flunked out of 3 highschools-2 of them alternative HS’s?

    What do you do with such a sloth? Ideas?

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