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Is the PROMISE program a good idea?

Recently, roughly a dozen states began receiving grant money designed to wean children with disabilities off of Supplemental Security Income by the time they reach adulthood. The money is linked to a program established by the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services called PROMISE which stands for Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income.

But while the main goal of the program could be seen as malicious in nature -- after all, the program assumes that once a child with disabilities reaches adulthood then they will no longer need helpful benefits -- it does have a few winning features we wanted to touch base on with our Texas readers this week.

For starters, the grant money will be used by states to provide services to children with disabilities and their families to help children focus on their education and career development. The hope is that by increasing a person’s access to educational and support services, they will then have the tools necessary to enter the workforce and achieve their career goals with little need for Supplemental Security Income down the road.

As we can imagine, some of our readers may be hesitant to join the PROMISE program because it would mean losing their benefits. But as the Social Security Administration explains in the program’s final report, two main incentives will exist for participants: continual access to health services even if they leave SSI and the ability to ease back into the SSI program if the transition away from benefits does not work out.

It’s important to point out that while the program offers these incentives, because it is a new program, the follow through may not happen in every case. Seeking help from an attorney if this happens could increase your chances of getting access to the services and benefits you require.

Source: Disability Scoop, "States Get Millions To Wean Kids Off SSI," Shaun Heasley, Oct. 8, 2013

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