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Congressional Testimony of Kentuckian Highlights Importance of SSI for Children with Disabilities

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Oct 31st, 2011

Congressional Testimony of Kentucky Mother Highlights Importance of SSI for Children with Disabilities


Appearing before a Congressional subcommittee last week in Washington, Katie Bentley, the mother of a disabled child from northern Kentucky, provided compelling testimony of the importance of the SSI program for children with disabilities.


Katie told the story of her son Will, who has a wide range of conditions, including Partial Seizure Disorder, Dysgraphia (inability to use his hands due to delayed motor skills), Sensory Integration Disorder (difficulty interpreting things he touches, smells, or hears, and extremely high pain levels), Anxiety Disorder, and Apraxia (speech delay that impairs the muscles needed to form words). 


She noted that taking Will to his various medical appointments “became a full-time job” and she was forced to close her childcare home and take a lower-paying job with a more flexible schedule.  She eventually had to leave that job due to Will’s care needs.


Faced with paying almost $1,000 per month for Will’s anti-seizure medications, which weren’t covered by the family’s health insurance, Katie and her husband applied for SSI.  Katie testified that the difference in Will’s life has been dramatic:


At one time, Will was unable to do anything for himself. Now, he can write his name and drink from a cup.  He is working on dressing and feeding himself. Two weeks ago, he began reading. Today, he learned to zip his jacket.


Because of great programs like SSI that bring funds, medical assistance, and therapy supports, Will has made great improvements.


Katie asked the subcommittee to help protect SSI Disability benefits so she can continue to give Will hope for his future, noting that “the life-altering value of SSI is worth so much more than its monetary value- it is truly priceless.”


Also testifying was Jonathan Stein, General Counsel at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.  He provided a detailed overview of the importance of SSI for disabled children and highlighted the case example of Will Bentley.


Read Katie Bentley’s testimony here.


Read Jonathan Stein’s testimony here.

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