For Immediate Release
Contact: Rob Grant, Communications Director
202.966.7300, Ext. 119
Caitlyn Camacho, Communications Coordinator
202.966.7300, Ext. 154
Washington, D.C., October 27, 2011 - The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) thanks Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggert for holding a hearing on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for children. This program is essential for families who are unable to care for their children with special needs. It provides families with additional resources to keep their family unit together and in the long run saves taxpayer dollars by preventing more costs in juvenile justice, child welfare or institutionalization.
Mental illnesses represent more than half of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. It should be no surprise that children with serious mental disorders (psychosis, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, severe depression and anxiety) make up a substantial share of SSI cases. In many cases children with mental illnesses have multiple diagnoses, again elevating the complexity of their disorders. Children can only be placed on SSI roles after a full evaluation by a medical professional finds them to meet strict eligibility rules.
For a child with mental illnesses, a full evaluation requires an examination of the current problem with attention to developmental, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, educational, biomedical, family, peer, and social components. A history of both the child and the family is collected as well as information from a variety of outside sources, such as the school, the child's pediatrician, psychological testing, and social service agencies. A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation usually requires several hours to complete and is often best performed over several sessions, including sessions for the child and parents separately and together.
Some reports have noted that the placement of a child on a psychiatric medication will make he or she eligible for SSI. This is not true. Psychiatric medications are sometimes one part of an overall treatment plan and an important component of treatment and support for children with severe mental illnesses. Medications and other therapies help to improve a child's functioning and lessen his or her chances of being found eligible for SSI.
Mental illnesses are real, common and treatable. With appropriate access to psychiatric care children with mental illnesses can received the care they need to live healthy and productive lives.
AACAP offers the following related resources:
- Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
- Prescribing Psychoactive Medication for Children and Adolescents
- Psychiatric Diagnostic Evaluations
- Practice Parameters for the Psychiatric Assessment of Children and Adolescents
- Psychiatric Medication For Children And Adolescents Part I-How Medications Are Used
- Psychiatric Medication For Children And Adolescents: Part II - Types Of Medications
- Psychiatric Medication For Children And Adolescents Part III: Questions To Ask
- Children Who Can't Pay Attention/Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- ADHD Resource Center
To learn more about AACAP's stance on SSI benefits for children, or all other AACAP offerings, please contact Caitlyn Camacho, Communications Coordinator, at 202.966.7300, ext. 154 or email@example.com.
Representing over 8,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children's mental health.
AACAP Members actively research, diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents and their families. For more information please visit www.aacap.org.