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National initiative will help disabled teenagers

Grades, social status and college applications may be common concerns for many teenagers. For disabled teenagers, however, such issues may be the least of their worries. In addition to learning how to adapt to any functional impairment presented by their condition, disabled teens may also wonder whether it will even be possible for them to attend college or find future employment.

However, more schools across the country are improving services for disabled teenagers. One example is a national initiative called PROMISE, which stands for Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income. The program is specifically designed for teenagers that already receive Supplemental Security Income benefits. 

The initiative will compare the progress of two groups of teenagers. One group will receive typical school services, while the other will receive PROMISE services. Researchers hope that the specialized services provided as part of the PROMISE initiative will prove that disabled teenagers have more educational and vocational opportunities and potential than previously believed.

Many SSI recipients have congenital impairments, developmental disorders or diseases or disabilities that they were born with or developed in early childhood. However, children aren't the only potential recipients of SSI payments. Disabled adults without an adequate work history, the elderly and the blind all might have qualifying disabilities under the program.

SSI determinations are need-based, provided a disability is also demonstrated. Like Social Security disability insurance benefits, however, the application process is difficult, with a high denial rate. An attorney can help to prepare a strong application and continue advocating for eligibility through any appeals.

Source: cornellsun.com, "ILR Employment and Disability Institute Receives $32.5-Million Grant," Andrew Lee, Nov. 20, 2013

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