Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Does A Child With Autism Qualify For Ssi

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Is Autism A Learning Disability

Autism: Do I Qualify For SSI?

Yes, although autism is mostly defined by its behavioral characteristics, it is fundamentally a learning disability. Even the behavioral aspects can be tied to impaired learning. For example, it appears that the communicative limitations in autism are largely due to impaired learning of communication skills.

The learning disability in many autistic individuals is somewhat paradoxical. Some may be unable to learn in a classroom environment, yet they can successfully memorize a phone book on their own.

Disabled learning has many effects on an autistic individuals ability to function in life. Traditional educational activities are often nearly useless for autistic people. They tend to resist formal teaching, and their behaviors can be disruptive in classrooms. They also have difficulty learning from experiences and may be unable to predict things that are important, such as when a bus will come to pick them up.

Learning to do meaningful tasks, such as those required by a job, may be impossible for individuals with autism. Although many people with autism have learning impairments that are relatively mild, autism is a learning disability with far-reaching consequences for many affected people.

If You Get Ssi And Are Turning 18

If you get SSI and then you turn 18, the biggest change in SSI eligibility rules is that you are considered an adult, not a child. When SSI decides whether you have a disability, SSI will not use their definition of disability for children. Instead, as an adult, SSI looks at your ability to work, not just your physical or mental limitations. That means that some people stop getting SSI benefits after they turn 18.

During the first year after you turn 18, SSI will automatically check to see if they still consider you disabled. This is called the SSI Age-18 Redetermination. They will say you have a disability if:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments
  • Your impairments limit your ability to work, and
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.

SSI may also look at your work and school record to see if you are able to work and may even talk to your teachers, counselors, or employers.

If you are going through the SSI Age-18 redetermination, Social Security may consider you to have a disability, even if you are working and earn less than $1,310 per month.

If you were not getting SSI before you turned 18 and you apply for SSI as an adult, Social Security may consider you to have a disability if you are working, but only if you make less than $1,310 per month, if you aren’t blind. If you are blind, you could earn much more.

If you have any questions about this, talk to a benefits planner.

Helping You Return To Work

After you start receiving disability benefits, you may want to try working again. There are special rules called work incentives that can help you keep your cash benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work. For more information about the ways Social Security can help you return to work, ask for Working While Disabled How We Can Help . More detailed information about work incentives can be found in the Red Book . Also visit the website, www.socialsecurity.gov/work.

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Other Disability Qualifications: Autism

In addition to meeting the above requirements that are specific to autism spectrum disorder, a person with this condition must also meet otherdisability requirements to qualify for SSDI.

SSDI is only available to people with permanent disabilities who cannot work.

  • The condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
  • It must prevent you from working in your previous job.
  • It must prevent you from learning a new trade or getting a new job.
  • You must have earned enough work credits, by working long enough and recently enough, to be insured under SSDI.

It is important to note, however, that you may be able to work in limited circumstances even if youre receiving SSDI for autism. The general rule will be that you cannot take part in substantial gainful activity which is equivalent to earning more than $1,260 per month as of 2020. This number changes from year to year.

SSI may also be available to adults or children with autism, with the same disability requirements but without the work requirements. For SSI, you must not be earning more than a certain amount of money and cannot have more than $2,000 in resources to qualify. You may be able to receive both SSDI and SSI, depending on the circumstances.

Childhood Disability Benefits For Autism

SSI for Autism Spectrum Disorder + What Parents Need to Know

Well show you how adults who were disabled before age 22 can qualify for Childhood Disability Benefits if a parent is eligible to receive Social Security payments through retirement or death.

Dear Benefits Advisor,

My daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was 4 years old. She is now 18 years old and eligible for SSI. Is she eligible to receive SSD based on me and her fathers working and contributions to SSA? If so, what would need to be done to switch from SSI to SSD?


Dear Angie,

If you or your daughters father is receiving Social Security now or her father is deceased, you can apply for childhood disability benefits for your daughter. If those conditions are not now met, keep her medical records that establish the diagnosis and severity prior to age twenty-two. Later, when you or her father becomes entitled to benefits or dies, she can apply for CDB, assuming that she is not married at that time.


Benefits Advisor

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Conditions That May Qualify

Children can medically qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for a wide range of disabilities, though a childs condition must meet a pronounced severity level in order to be eligible.

Just a few of the medical conditions that can qualify a child for disability benefits are:

  • Growth impairments and muscular, skeletal, joint and neurological disorders.
  • Vision, hearing, and speech impairments.
  • Systemic conditions that affect multiple body areas, such as Down syndrome.
  • Genetic conditions and congenital impairments of the organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys and digestive tract.
  • Childhood cancers, immune system disorders, disorders of the endocrine system, like diabetes.
  • Mental and behavioral disorders, including intellectual and developmental disabilities like ADHD, Autism, and personality, anxiety and mood disorders.

Changes To The Benefits System Universal Credit

The following benefits are currently being abolished: income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, and Income Support. These are now referred to as legacy benefits. They are being replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit .

Most people who need to make a new claim, or have a change of circumstances that trigger a new claim, will need to apply for UC. UC is usually claimed online.

To get help, you can ring the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644. You can also use the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service on 0800 144 8 444.

All claims for legacy benefits will eventually be moved to Universal Credit. This is known as managed migration’ and started in November 2020. The DWP will write to you inviting you to claim Universal Credit. For more information, see our page on Universal Credit.

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Is My Disabled Child Eligible For Ssi Benefits

To qualify for SSI benefits, a child must be blind or disabled based on the following definitions:

  • Blindness: The child must have vision of 20/200 or less in the better eye when a corrective lens is worn or visual field limitation in the better eye no more than 20 degrees at the widest point.
  • Disability: The child must be under 18 with a medically verifiable physical or mental impairment that causes severe functional limitations expected to result in death or that have lastedor are expected to lastfor 12 or more continuous months.

Once the child reaches age 18, the definition for disability is extended to require that their disability prevents them from participating in substantial gainful activity .

If A Beneficiary Dies

Social Security Disability for your autistic child

Let them know if a person receiving Social Security benefits dies. Benefits are not payable for the month of death. That means if the person died any time in July, for example, the check received in August must be returned. If direct deposit is used, also notify the financial institution of the death as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death.

Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting disability benefits dies.

If you are receiving both Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits based on your spouses work and your spouse dies, you must tell Social Security immediately. You no longer will be eligible to receive both benefits. You will be notified which survivor benefit you will receive.

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Ssi If You Are Younger Than 18

If you are under 18, SSI says you are a child and have a disability if:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments
  • Your impairments cause severe limitations in your daily life, and
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.

Not everybody with a disability automatically gets benefits. You must also have no other way to pay for basic expenses like food, rent, and utilities. If you are under 18, SSI decides whether you need help by looking at the money you and your parents earn and the assetsyou and your parents have, including savings accounts, stocks, and real estate.

Note: You can open an ABLE account where over time you can save up to $100,000 in resources and not have them counted by SSI. Learn more about ABLE accounts.

SSI counts both your income and assets and your parents income and assets when you are under 18 because they expect your parents to pay for your living expenses. This is called parent-to-child deeming.

If you or your parents make too much money or have too many assets, you will not get SSI. The exact limits depend on the size of your family. For example, if you live with both your parents and you have no siblings, the earned income limit is usually $4,041 per month and the asset limitis $2,000.

A complete table of income limits for families with a disabled child is listed near the bottom of Social Securitys SSI for Children webpage.

Impairments That Qualify For Autism Disability Benefits

  • Medically documented findings of all three of the following:
  • Qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction and
  • Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity and
  • The findings in Paragraph A must result in the criteria listed in Paragraph B1 of Section 112.02 to demonstrate the severity of the impairment:
  • For older infants and toddlers aged 1-3, having no more than one-half the age appropriate level of functioning in one of the areas set forth in subparagraphs a-c below, OR having no more than two-thirds the age appropriate level of functioning for two or more of the areas set forth in subparagraphs a-c below:
  • Gross or fine motor development or
  • Cognitive/communicative function or
  • Social function.
  • For children aged 3-18, marked age appropriate impairment in two of the areas set forth in subparagraphs a-d below:
  • Cognitive/communicative function and/or
  • Personal functioning and/or
  • Maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.
  • Cognition is defined as the mental process of knowing, such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.

    Communication is defined as a two way process of exchanging and understanding information. These abilities may be tested in a variety of ways, depending on age, with tests that can also be used to measure language and speech development.

    Adulthood Autism

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    Children’s Alternate Method: Functionally Equaling The Listings

    If your child’s autism does not meet the disability listing for autistic spectrum disorders, the SSA will consider all of the child’s limitations. This method is similar to meeting the listing, but there are a few additional areas of functioning that are evaluated. To be found disabled, your child must show medical evidence of marked limitations in two the following areas of functioning or an extreme limitation in one area of functioning:

    • how well a child moves about and manipulates objects
    • how well a child cares for himself or herself
    • whether a child has good health and physical well-being
    • how well a child acquires and uses information
    • how well a child attends to and completes tasks, and
    • how well a child interacts and relates with others.

    To determine how well your child functions within each “domain,” the SSA will consider medical opinions from a variety of sources, including pediatricians, nurses, and occupational therapists. When determining whether a limitation is marked or extreme, the SSA will consider how important the restricted activities are to the child’s basic functioning, how often the limitations occur, and whether the limitation occurs in all settings. For more information, read our article on how children qualify for disability benefits.

    Student Earned Income Exclusion

    Everything We Know About Disability

    Usually, if you make too much money, your SSI benefits will either go down or be stopped altogether. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, which SSI calls exclusions.

    One of those exclusions is the Student Earned Income Exclusion . This exclusion allows students to earn up to $1,930 per month, and up to $7,770 per year, without having those wages count as part of their countable income.

    In order to qualify for the SEIE, you have to be under 22, working, and regularly attending school. That usually means you have to go to school more than:

    • 8 hours a week for college students
    • 12 hours a week for grades 7-12, or
    • 12-15 hours a week for employment training.

    You make $1,050 per month at a summer job. During the school year, you also make $350 each month at a work-study job. Since the money you make doesnt exceed the monthly and annual limits for the SEIE, your SSI benefits wont go down at all.

    If you drop out of school, you will no longer get the SEIE, and you will get a smaller benefits amount than you would if you had stayed in school. Stay in school! Youll get more money thanks to the SEIE, and when you graduate, youll get a higher paying job thanks to your degree!

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    Incentives That Help You Go To School Work And Save

    SSI and many other government benefits programs have strict limits on how much income and savings you can have. If you go over the limits, you will no longer get benefits. The problem is that sometimes these limits end up preventing people from working and saving.

    When the government realized that these limits were actually stopping people from getting jobs, saving money, and living better, they created work incentives like the Student Earned Income Exclusion , Plans to Achieve Self-Support , Individual Development Accounts and ABLE Accounts that help you earn and save money without losing your benefits.

    Your Doctors Opinion Will Be Considered In Social Securitys Determination

    In a clinical setting, a mental health professional will consider behaviors like lack of eye contact or a failure to adequately use gestures or facial expressions for communication. Likewise, a child with autism may have trouble understanding gestures or facial expressions. These factors will also be taken into account when Social Security performs a disability determination.

    Other behaviors a doctor will assess in evaluating autism include preoccupation with patterns and/or compulsive adherence to rituals. A child exhibiting these behaviors could have serious limitations in any of the other domains, such as Attending and Completing Tasks or Caring for Yourself.

    In an autism case, Social Security will also consider its listing for autism. If a childs autism satisfies the criteria for this listing, he or she will be considered disabled. Keller & Kellers Social Security attorneys are familiar with this listing and can work on your behalf to make sure a Social Security judge has all the evidence that is relevant to it.

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    Social Security Disability Insurance Program

    The SSDI program will pay benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they turned 22 years-old. This is considered a childs benefit because its paid on a parents Social Security earnings record. To receive this benefit, the child must have a parent who is receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or must have died and worked enough to qualify for Social Security. Children who receive SSDI as a minor will continue to receive benefits as a disabled adult child as long as they meed the disability rules for adults.

    Ssi Disability Benefits For Autistic Children

    How to Apply for Social Security for Autism

    Learn how to show financial need and level of disability to qualify autistic children under age 18 for Supplemental Security Income/SSI disability payments.

    The purpose of Supplemental Security Income payments is to help disabled people, or their families, who have limited financial resources. Children with certain disabilities can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits beginning from birth. In the case of parents with autistic children, this money can help provide needed therapies and care to maximize a childs abilities and strengths.

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    If You Get Married Or Divorced

    If you get married or divorced, your Social Security benefits may be affected, depending on the kind of benefits you receive.

    If your benefits are stopped because of marriage or remarriage, they may be started again if the marriage ends.

    If you get your own disability benefits then your benefits will continue.

    If you get your spouses benefits then your benefits will continue if you get divorced and you are age 62 or over unless you were married less than 10 years.

    If you get disabled widows or widowers benefits then your benefits will continue if you remarry when you are age 50 or older.

    If you get any other kind of benefits then generally your benefits will stop when you get married. Your benefits may be started again if the marriage ends.

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