"It's clear to me that this program is out of control and badly in need of reform. ... To what extent do we redefine what is truly, severely disabled? Then the question is, do we take the next step and replace cash benefits with available services for those [children] who qualify?"
Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La.,
member House Ways and Means subcommittee on Human Resources
While there may be problems and the system should be shored up, an all-out attack is simply irresponsible. The attack is not designed to correct problems, it is designed to cut -- to save money and put it to other uses.
L lobbyist for Association for Retarded Citizens in Washington
Social Security has the cart so far out in front of the horse that they can't even see it. They started handing out checks to junkies and drunks before they had anything set up to make sure they weren't blowing the money. I say, cut them all off until Social Security gets its act together. All we're doing now is killing people.
director of Step 13, a Denver halfway house for addicts
It is hard to imagine a more destructive policy than providing monthly checks to drug addicts and alcoholics. ... Paying people because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol is absolutely nuts, and this has to change. We should try to provide treatment, but we should not hand out cash to addicts.
Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla.,
chairman, House Ways and Means subcommittee on Human Resources
I know [cutting benefits] sounds great to the taxpayer who's fed up with these horror stories about addicts abusing their disability checks. But what the media don't tell you is that most of these so-called addicts are retarded, mentally ill or handicapped in some other way. They need treatment. It's cheaper than prison.
legal aid lobbyist
A more reasoned approach [to addicts and alcoholics] would tie in the loss of benefits to willful refusal to accept treatment -- until we get to the point ... where we can assure people who need treatment that they can get it.
Social Security commissioner
No one believes that a parent should receive cash based solely on the fact that their child is disabled. They should receive the medical services and rehabilitation services they need.
Martha Jane Gormanous,
director of special education,
Boosier City, La.
Give the children stipends for doing well. I hate to see money spent crazily, but that would be better than what we are doing now.
school psychologist, Morehouse Parish, La.
If the child needs therapy, the school should receive the money ** for therapy. Vouchers might be good -- give vouchers for the service they need.
nurse practitioner in Forrest City, Ark.
You give me a book of food stamps and I can go somewhere and sell them. You could take a voucher and misuse it. Vouchers are not going to help because people are going to sell them.
mother of 3 SSI recipients in
There is an opportunity here to incorporate SSI with welfare reform. SSI should be state-administered and linked to welfare. ... Keep the federal funding but maybe have some type of cap. At the local level, they know better how to do all this.
Social Security commissioner
We should ensure that severely disabled children are given the help they need to maximize their chances of becoming self-supporting. But we also have to restructure the way benefits are provided and remove current disincentives for parents to get these children the treatment they need.
Rep. Gerald D. Kleczka, D-Wis.,
member, House Ways and Means Committee