Social Security Benefits And Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a neurodevelopment disorder that involves the brain and its ability to process information. In the Autism Spectrum, there are three disorder types. These disorders include Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Asperger Syndrome . Each condition is present at birth. It is not unusual for individuals with AS and PDD-NOS to learn about their diagnosis until later years. When a person receives a diagnosis, they may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. However, most caregivers are unsure of how to file or what to do to earn benefits. Read on to learn more about social security benefits and autism.
If You Change Your Name
If you change your nameby marriage, divorce or court orderyou need to tell Social Security right away. If you do not give this information, your benefits will be issued under your old name and, if you have direct deposit, payments may not reach your account. If you receive checks, you may not be able to cash them if your identification is different from the name on your check.
Supplemental Security Income Program Entry At Age 18 And Entrants’ Subsequent Earnings
Latest information on benefits for a disabled child
In determining Supplemental Security Income eligibility and payment levels for child applicants and recipients, the Social Security Administration attributes part of parental income to the child using a process called deeming. Parental-income deeming ends at age 18, and many youths with severe disabilities who were income-ineligible for SSI as minors can become income-eligible as adults. This article provides evidence that substantial numbers of youths apply for SSI as soon as they turn 18. Additionally, the distribution by disability type of youths applying at or after age 18 differs from that of youths applying just before age 18. Further, applications filed at age 18 are more likely to be allowed than are those filed at age 17. Using denied applicants as a comparison group, I estimate a reduced likelihood of subsequent employment for allowed SSI applicants aged 1719 with an expected upper bound of about 25 percentage points.
Jeffrey Hemmeter is the deputy director of the Office of Program Development, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration.
Acknowledgments: The author is grateful to Molly Costanzo, Jim Twist, Clark Pickett, Chelsea Shudtz, Ken Brown, Linda Mitchell, and other members of SSA’s Office of SSI and Program Integrity Policy staff for their comments on drafts of this article.
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Who Is Eligible And How To Apply For Social Security
Apply for these benefits at your local Social Security Office. To find it, use the Social Security Office Locator.
Eligibility may be based on the severity of your childs disability and on your family income.Get more details about Social Security eligibility.
Having the right information when you apply will make things easier.
- Be ready to supply information about the doctors, therapists, hospitals, and clinics that have treated your child in the last year
- Be ready to supply your childs medical records and a list of medications your child is taking
- to help gather all the information you will need in the application process
If You Get A Pension From Work
If you start receiving a pension from a job for which you did not pay Social Security taxesfor example, from the federal civil service system, some state or local pension systems, nonprofit organizations or a foreign government your Social Security benefit may be reduced. Also, tell Social Security if the amount of your pension changes.
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Adults’ Alternate Method: Residual Functional Capacity
If your condition doesn’t to meet the disability listing for autistic disorders, the SSA will evaluate your residual functional capacity . Your RFC is the most you can perform in a work setting. The SSA will consider various skills, including your ability to sit, stand, and walk, your ability to work with others, and your ability to concentrate on tasks. To be found disabled, you must be unable to perform any jobs given your RFC.
If your autism is severe, then you will likely have problems interacting with the public and with supervisors, and these limitations should show up in your RFC. This will reduce the number of jobs that you can perform. Due to your autism, you may also have problems focusing on work tasks for an extended length of time. If you are unable to perform work at a competitive pace, then the SSA could consider you disabled because you are prevented from performing almost all jobs.
Financially Qualifying For Ssi
Because minors often have minimal or no income or assets of their own, the SSA must consider the financial circumstances of the child as well as the parents, guardians, foster parents or other caregiver. Children are also unable to apply for benefits for themselves, which means the SSA has standard processes in place to allow any adult who cares for a child with a disability to apply for SSI on his or her behalf.
Before applying, you may wish to review the SSA’s Child Disability Starter Kit. This kit explains the SSI program and the information and documentation that will be necessary for filing a claim on behalf of a child. The SSA must review the financial details of the household in which the child lives. This includes the income, assets and other financial resources of the entire family.
Although the SSI qualification rules are strict, many children are able to receive support, even when they have two parents who work and earn a decent living. This is because the SSA excludes some income and other financial resources from consideration. They additionally only assign or “deem” a portion of available income and assets to the child, which makes it more likely a child will be approved. Also considered is family size and whether income is earned or unearned, among other factors.
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How A Caregiver Can Apply For Ssi On Behalf Of A Child
Children with a wide range of medical conditions are able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. When a child receives benefits from the Social Security Administration , these benefits are usually paid through the Supplemental Security Income program, a need-based form of disability that requires a detailed review of medical as well as financial information. Once approved though, a child can continue to receive support each month for as long as he or she meets the SSA’s eligibility requirements. Adults can receive SSI too! If you are caring for an adult who has been disabled since birth, he or she will still likely need to apply for SSI benefits.
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.
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Ssi Benefit For Two Children With Autism
Learn how people with severe hearing loss can seek work modifications, either on their own or by securing a Social Security residual functional capability rating to restrict work conditions.
Hi Benefits Advisor,
Chris in St. Joseph, MI
The calculation of how much parental income is deemed available for the support of disabled children is the same whether you have one or more disabled children. The only difference is that with multiple disabled children, the deemed amount is split among the children.
In the case of your family, I calculate the same figure as you, $333 for each of your two children . The calculation follows the formula given you by the Social Security Administration. The formula makes provisions for parents supporting themselves and their non-disabled children and gives a work incentive by not counting part of the earned income.
With regard to resource rules, two parents living in the same household with one or more disabled children can have $3,000 in countable assets and each disabled child can have $2,000. If you and your wife have more than $3,000, the excess will be divided between your two disabled children and counted toward their individual $2,000 limits. Note that several assets are not countable including but not limited to a home you live in, one vehicle, resources necessary for self-support and certain kinds of burial policies.
Special Needs Financial Planning Tool Kit
Mapping out the financial future of your child can seem like a daunting task, but having a plan in place can help ease your fears. The Autism Speaks Special Needs Financial Planning Tool Kit was created to provide you with all the information that you need to develop that plan.
The information in the Financial Planning Tool Kit comes from top experts in the field with many years of both personal and professional experience with special needs financial planning. We have also included some personal stories from other parents or caregivers like you.
Learn more and download the Financial Planning Tool Kit free of charge.
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How Is Autism Diagnosed
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder early can make life easier for afflicted children and their families. However, making an ASD diagnosis can be difficult. Because there are no specific tests for the disorder, doctors rely solely on observing young childrens behavior and listening to parental concerns.
Autism symptoms vary greatly. Some individuals who fall on the spectrum are highly intelligent, able to take care of themselves, and live on their own. Others may have severe mental disabilities. No matter where they fall on the spectrum, your childs diagnosis will require a two-step process. The first is making sure your child sees their pediatrician for their 18- and 24-month checkups. The doctor will talk to and watch your child as well as ask you questions about their behavior and development and your familys medical history.
If your childs pediatrician suspects your child has ASD, theyll refer you to a team of specialists. This may include a neurologist, developmental pediatrician, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, and/or a child psychologist. Theyll evaluate further your childs life skills like going to the bathroom, dressing himself, and eating as well as their language abilities and cognitive level. Your child must meet the requirements put forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association in order to receive an official diagnosis.
Applications Filed Around Age 18
Given the substantial change in the treatment of parental earnings once an applicant reaches age 18, it is useful to understand how many youths apply before and after that threshold, how quickly they tend to apply afterward, and whether their characteristics differ according to age at application. As expected, the age distribution of SSI applicants clearly spikes in the month of turning 18 . In each of the years studied, SSI applications were filed in roughly equal numbersgenerally about 1,350by applicants in most of the 12 months preceding their 18th birthday. That number crept upward for applicants in the final months before their 18th birthday, likely reflecting individuals exiting foster care or other special circumstances. The number spiked to about 13,500 applications filed for individuals within a month of turning 18. Applications numbered roughly 3,000 for individuals in each of their remaining months at age 18. The number blipped slightly upward to about 3,300 for youths applying in the month they turned 19 and then declined until leveling off at around 2,800 for those applying as they approached age 20. Some of the increase in applications after age 18 may result from return to the program after the age-18 redetermination.
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Social Security Disability Filing
With childhood autism, the Social Security Administration has a listing in the Impairment Listing Manual under Section 112.10. Under this listing, there are requirements for the child to meet to be eligible for benefits. Examples of things that Social Security will consider are if your child had difficulty making friends and understanding social cues from others these are considered delays in reciprocal social interactions. Children on the Spectrum may have difficulties with changes to their schedules and knowing how to appropriately express emotions, such as disappointment or anger. Information from doctors, teachers, daycare providers, and family members can be very useful in helping Social Security determine your childs disability and eligibility for benefits.
A diagnosis of autism does not automatically make a child eligible to receive benefits. Children with autism are often very high functioning. In order to determine disability Social Security will look at your childs development and ability to function in comparison to other children their age. If your childs development is significantly delayed compared to their peers, they may qualify for benefits. Social Security uses 6 domains to evaluate your childs disability. Having an experienced representative to help you understand what evidence you will need is very important. Disability Support Services representatives have many years of experience and can help you navigate this maze.
Impairments That Qualify For Autism Disability Benefits
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.
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When Competitive Employment Is Not An Option
As early-diagnosed and early-treated children with Asperger profiles come of age, we hope that tomorrows adults with Asperger profiles will be better prepared to enter the workforcebut the data is not yet in.
Some fail repeatedly despite having advanced degrees or superior skills or knowledge. A weak work ethic or poor work habits are not the source of the problem. Adults with Asperger profiles are out there, giving it their allbut still not getting the job, or getting fired repeatedly.
- Some individuals may experience anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, tics, or seizures. By themselves these symptoms or conditions might not be disabling, but they may make work impossible in combination with Asperger profile challenges.
- Some are overwhelmed or even injured by the stress of coping with an uncongenial work environment, and/or by their repeated work failures. When someone has had several work failures and/or has had a significant worsening of their physical or psychological health because of work-related stress, they may require relief from work expectations in order to have some balance or quality of life. For them, it may be necessary to consider alternative support, such as disability pension benefits.
- It may also be clear that certain young adults with minimal or no previous work attempts will probably not succeed at any kind of conventional employment, and are better off not attempting the impossible.
Embarking On The Benefit Application Process
When you are ready to begin an SSI claim on behalf of a child you care for, you can schedule an appointment with your local SSA office by calling the main helpline at 1-800-772-1213. Just keep in mind that there are typically long hold times when calling the SSA. If you can find a local number through the SSA’s office locator, you may have an easier time making an appointment.
During your local office appointment, you’ll participate in a personal interview with an SSA representative. This representative will walk you through the SSI application, record your information and submit your claim for you. With a rich medical history, the person you care for should be approved in a couple of months.
To learn more about the Social Security Disability application process, from initially applying, to keeping benefits after being approved, visit .
About the author:
Deanna Power is the Director of Outreach at Disability Benefits Help, an independent organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities receive the Social Security benefits they need. She initially began working with people with disabilities by volunteering with Best Buddies, and now specializes in helping potential Social Security claimants determine if they medically qualify for benefits. If you have any questions on the application process, feel free to email her at .
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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.