Globe series: Kids, meds and welfare

I found this story almost too depressing to read. Families who seek help for kids with mental health problems can’t get it unless the kids are on meds. And, when the kids get better, the payments are cut off. So the kids don’t get “better” because the families need the help.

Check out the Globe’s series: “The Other Welfare.”  

A Globe investigation has found that this Supplemental Security Income program — created by Congress primarily to aid indigent children with severe physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and blindness — now largely serves children with relatively common mental, learning, and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. It has also created, for many needy parents, a financial motive to seek prescriptions for powerful drugs for their children.

And once a family gets on SSI, it can be very hard to let go…

“This has become the new welfare,’’ said MIT economics professor David Autor. “This is a very valuable resource to families, but you’re providing incentives for them to produce a diagnosis for their children to be part of this program, and there’s also incentives to medicate them. This is a substantial public policy problem.’’

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