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The Arc’s Statement in Response to Congressional Hearing on Supplemental Security Income for Low Income Children

Washington, DC – Peter V. Berns, the CEO of The Arc of the United States, released the following statement about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) following today’s Ways and Means Committee hearing.

“The Arc hopes that Congress will continue to support and sustain SSI for children with significant disabilities. The children who depend on SSI have significant disabilities, live in low-income households, and rely on SSI for access to medications and to meet other essential needs – it is their lifeline. SSI enables families to access services that allow them to care for their child with a disability at home, as opposed to being placed in institutions.

We are so pleased to have a family from The Arc of Kentucky at the hearing today. Katie Bentley and her son Will are wonderful examples of what SSI does for families. Forced to quit her job to care for her son, Katie and her family are reliant on SSI benefits and the related medical supports available to him. As Katie said at today’s hearing, SSI allows Will to lead an active life in the community, while living at home. SSI means opportunities to families like the Bentleys, and we cannot afford to take these opportunities away from children with severe disabilities.

Any attempts to cut SSI for low-income children are unacceptable. We cannot allow children who are clearly in need to suffer.”

SSI is essential for low-income children with severe disabilities. This program was established to support and preserve the capacity of families to care for their children with disabilities in their own homes by easing the financial burden families of children with disabilities face. Last year alone, SSI provided benefits for more than 1 million children with severe disabilities. All children who receive SSI benefits live in low-income households. SSI benefits help struggling families afford medications and other essential services, and meet basic needs.

The Arc of the United States has joined with more than 80 national organizations to support the preservation of SSI for low-income children with disabilities.