To those who believe the federal Supplemental Security Income program for severely disabled children is a lifesaver and not a boondoggle, Hulston Poe is a great example.
The 4-year-old was diagnosed with severe ADHD last October, after more than a year of violent temper tantrums, and kicked out of preschool. Case workers said there wasn't much they could do for him.
"We were at a standstill," says his mother, Suzanne Poe, who was scraping by as a single parent of two in Des Moines, Iowa.
Then doctors recommended that she enroll her son in the SSI program this year, and everything changed. A monthly check of $674 helps pay for Hulston's day care, a private tutor and medicines. Perhaps most importantly, the program made Hulston newly eligible for Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance program for the poor. He gained access to the doctors he needed.
"I can see a light in his eyes again," Poe says. "He just looks so much happier."
Let's hope worthwhile programs like this one don't end up on the cutting block.