For the next five years, the University of Arkansas – with $32 million in grant money – will help teenagers with disabilities gain the skills they need to be part of America’s workforce. Brent T. Williams, an associate professor of rehabilitation education and research, will spearhead the project to help teens with disabilities secure their first paid work experiences. Williams says, “Less than ten percent of adolescents with disabilities who receive Social Security disability benefits ever achieve competitive employment. This isolates and marginalizes them for the rest of their lives.”
Researchers with the University will compile data over the next five years to study the correlation between initial paid work experiences and later employment. Overall, 2,000 youths between 14 and 16 who receive SSI will be recruited for the University of Arkansas project. Arkansas and California are two of only five states that received funding for programs to help disabled teens enter the workforce. “The findings from this research could go a long way toward facilitating the independence and societal inclusion of adolescents with disabilities,” Williams said.
Children who meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability for children may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children. The child must suffer a mental or physical condition that strictly limits his or her activities, and the condition must have lasted, or be estimated to last, at least a year or result in death. Initial applications are frequently denied and must be appealed.
If your child is disabled, seek help from an experienced Social Security disability attorney. A good Social Security disability lawyer will make sure all the conditions for disability are met and that all forms and applications are accurate and complete. Don’t hesitate to get the benefits your family needs; if your child is disabled, speak to an experienced Social Security disability attorney right away.