Juvenile Justice SSI/SSDI Advocacy

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Achieving better outcomes for juveniles in the justice system and cost savings for agencies

Juvenile Justice SSI/SSDI Advocacy

It is estimated that between 65 and 70 percent of juveniles in the justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly 30 percent experience severe mental health disorders1. The prevalence of mental retardation for these juveniles is significant, too — 7 to 15 percent for incarcerated youth as compared to 1 to 3 percent for the general juvenile population. Addictions are also more common. Many of these youth may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they are released — federal benefits that can help them get the support they need to successfully reintegrate into their communities after release. And yet, unfortunately many go without these vital benefits.

The application process for SSI/SSDI is lengthy and complex. In most state, county and local juvenile justice systems, no dedicated staff member is assigned to complete applications for soon-to-be-released incarcerated youth. As a result, many released juveniles do not have access to the services, benefits and support they need to stabilize their lives. Approximately three-quarters of them return to the justice system within 42 months of release2 — an extremely costly consequence for the juveniles and for state and local governments.

Achieve Better Outcomes for Juveniles and Cost Savings for Your Agency

MAXIMUS juvenile justice SSI/SSDI advocacy services help states, counties and cities secure SSI/SSDI benefits for eligible juveniles involved in the justice system prior to their release. By accessing the appropriate benefits, our services help promote greater stability for the children and families, facilitate successful re-entry into their communities, and reduce recidivism. They also help state and local governments save countless dollars through savings associated with reduced subsidies from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, health care costs and recidivism.

1Skowyra & Cocozza, 2007.

2“The Fair Chance Act”; Preventing Recidivism by Supporting Youth; Schwartz and Child