Those with autism may qualify for disability benefits

Parents whose children are autistic often struggle in many ways. In addition to the emotional strain that parenting a child with special needs can cause, the special medical care, education and assistive technology can be a huge financial burden. On top of the added costs, autistic children can require more care than other children, making it difficult for the parents to work and earn enough money for their children’s special needs. They may not be aware that help is available. Those with autistic children may want to consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits for their children.

Social Security Disability benefits are available for mental and psychological conditions, such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome, as well as physical disabilities. If a parent already receives Social Security Disability Insurance, they may choose to apply for dependent benefits for an autistic child. If the parent does not get SSDI, they may try to apply for Supplemental Security Insurance benefits for their child. SSI is based on income and disability status, rather than work history and disability like SSDI.

As part of the application process, parents will have to provide documentation that their children’s conditions are severe enough to qualify for benefits. Some of the criteria that the Social Security Administration uses to determine who qualifies include deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal communication, difficulties in reciprocal social interaction, a lack of imaginative activity and extremely narrow interests and activities. 

The application process for disability benefits can be daunting. Those who are trying to raise children with special needs may feel like it is too difficult, given all of the other demands on their time. However, a skilled Social Security Disability lawyer can help make the process go more smoothly and increase the likelihood of obtaining the benefits they require to help meet their children’s needs. 

Source: Age of Autism, “Autism and Social Security Disability Benefits,” Molly Clarke, July 12, 2013

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