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Panel OKs Disability Benefits

September 18, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Lawmakers are moving to make sure that certain poor, critically ill children do not lose their disability benefits.

Under legislation that skated through the House Ways and Means Committee Friday, gifts from organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation would be exempted from calculations of children’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits.

This means that a poor, dying child who receives cash from Make-A-Wish to spend at Disney World, for instance, won’t lose disability payments because his or her income rose for the month.

The current law affects only a few children each year, and many families never even report these gifts as income. Still, members said the law needed to be changed.

``We are fixing this problem,″ said Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fla., chairman of the panel’s human resources subcommittee. ``I only wish all our decisions were so simple.″

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