Congress May Investigate 'The Other Welfare:' SSI

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Some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into whether the decades-old Supplemental Security Income program, or SSI, gives perverse incentives to poor parents to put their children on psychiatric drugs to qualify for cash assistance.

SSI started in the 1970s to help parents care for physically disabled children. But the Boston Globe reports that SSI has now become "the other welfare" for poor families, who have come to depend on up to $700 a month in no-strings cash assistance and Medicaid coverage that the program provides.

We speak with reporter Patricia Wen, who found that a growing number of poor children are qualifying for the benefit because of mental disabilities, especially if they are put on psychiatric medications.

This segment aired on January 20, 2011.


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