[blindkid] SSI question

Deborah Kent Stein dkent5817 at att.net
Tue Jun 25 22:25:50 UTC 2013

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts about the article 
"Social Security: Benefits and Pitfalls" from Future Reflections.  It was 
certainly never our intent to cast judgment upon families of kids with 
disabilities who receive SSI payments!  The purpose of the article was to 
help parents think about the messages, both positive and negative, that 
their kids may pick up about receiving payments from the government, and to 
help parents be aware of the need to transition adult children to take 
responsibility for their payments and relationship with SSI if that is 
possible.  Like Arielle, I  know personally a number of blind adults who 
believed they had followed all the rules, yet were suddenly told that they 
owe Social Security tens of thousands of dollars in overpayments. I also 
know a number of blind people who have allowed SSI to become a way of life 
rather than look for or train for employment.  That is clearly not the 
intention of the program, and the fact that a family chooses to receive SSI 
payments in no way implies a moral lapse!!!  As Ronza Othman points out, SSI 
can be a very effective tool to help a blind person move toward 
independence.  In other cases, it can help ensure a more meaningful quality 
of life for people whose disabilities may make it difficult for them to work 
or to live on their own.

Clearly SSI is a very important topic, and it's one that is not often 
discussed.  If anyone would like to write about their own experiences and 
perspectives for Future Reflections, please contact me off list.

Debbie Stein
Future Reflections
dkent5817 at att.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Arielle Silverman" <arielle71 at gmail.com>
To: "Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 1:52 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] SSI question

> Hi all,
> According to the story, Ronza's mother did everything she was supposed
> to including informing SSA when her daughter started working. SSA was
> at fault for continuing to send payments after Ronza started working,
> then suddenly realizing they had screwed up and demanding all the
> money back at once. I have heard these kinds of stories multiple
> times, where people receive benefits, follow all the reporting rules
> and then are suddenly informed that they were overpaid. This is
> unacceptable. Could you imagine if your employer of 20 years suddenly
> sent you a letter saying they had miscalculated your salary, they had
> paid you an extra $100 per month for the last 20 years and they wanted
> all that money back immediately? It would be an outrage.
> If you read Ronza's article through, she does talk about the benefits
> of SSI and gives several concrete examples. I actually found her
> article quite balanced. The message I took away is that SSI is neither
> good nor bad, but it's something that should be approached in a
> mindful way both by parents and by blind adults. In other words, there
> is nothing wrong with getting SSI, but it's important to be mindful of
> why you are receiving it and how that money is being spent, and it
> should be directed toward disability-related expenses. I thought Julie
> did a good job of articulating her reasons and particularly explaining
> that due to her disability, her daughter required more one-on-one
> parenting time and SSI essentially paid for this extra one-on-one
> time. For those of you who were bothered by the article, I would
> challenge you to really think deeply about why you have made the
> choice to get SSI for your child. If you believe your reasons are
> sound, and that you are doing it to defray disability-related expenses
> and not simply as an entitlement, then I don't think you have anything
> to worry about as far as morality is concerned. If after reflecting,
> you come to realize that the SSI isn't really necessary or isn't being
> gotten in the spirit of positive expectations or beliefs about
> blindness, then perhaps this is a challenge to reconsider your
> decision. I suspect that most of not all of you here are utilizing SSI
> appropriately.
> I think the other take-away point is that when blind kids turn 18,
> they really do need to be put in charge of their SSI, preferably
> through a formal request to transfer the payee role to them.
> Best,
> Arielle
> On 6/25/13, Lynda Zwinger <lyndaz918 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I agree.  The admonitory and disapproving tone, in my opinion, is
>> unwarranted.
>> The person who had to pay an overpayment:  this is not an intrinsic 
>> feature
>> of SSI.  This is a combination of an individual not understanding all the
>> rules and a government which all too often uses stringent enforcement on
>> the have-nots. Why?  Who knows?  Because it can, I imagine.
>> The *FR* article with its series of examples may well have served a
>> hortatory purpose--we all want as much independence as possible--but it 
>> was
>> a moralistic lecture rather than an analysis of what use our kids can 
>> make
>> of SSI to help them reach that goal.
>> I think the original OP wanted to know about the practicalities and
>> coverage, not about whether SSI payments were bad for people's character.
>> Lynda
>> On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM, Julie Yanez <jyanez112 at gmail.com> 
>> wrote:
>>> I think there were some pretty negative implications on parents 
>>> receiving
>>> SSI as the payee of a child.
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