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Social Security For Autistic Adults

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How To Qualify For Ssi

Can an adult with autism receive social security disability benefits?

According to the Social Security Administration guidelines, a person under the age of 18 is considered disabled if they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that:

  • Results in marked and severe functional limitations
  • Can be expected to result in death or
  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of no less than 12 months

What If Your Claim Is Denied The Appeals Process

If benefits are denied, some explanation is provided about the thinking behind the decision. The letter may report that the impairments are not severe, or are not expected to be disabling for at least twelve months, or do not preclude simple work situations. This provides a framework for planning for an appeal.

The first level of appeal is called a reconsideration, which is generally a review of the same available evidence by a different psychologist or psychologist. If that is not favorable, the claimant has a right to a hearing before an administrative law judge. The final level of appeal, short of Federal Court, is a review by the Appeals Council. A significant portion of cases are decided in favor of the claimant at all levels of appeal, and do not require an attorney. It may take quite some time to go through the appeal process, but it should be pursued if you feel that you have been misunderstood, and you continue to be unable to work because of your disorder . It is highly desirable to provide new and/or different evidence about your limitations during the appeal process and it is wise to address the reservations outlined in the denial letter.

Other Benefits You May Be Able To Get

Supplemental Security Income

If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get SSI. SSI is a federal program that provides monthly payments to people age 65 or older and to people who are blind or disabled. If you get SSI, you also may be able to get other benefits, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

For more information about SSI, ask for Supplemental Security Income .


After you receive disability benefits for 24 months, you will be eligible for Medicare. You will get information about Medicare several months before your coverage starts. If you have permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a transplant or you have amyotrophiclateral sclerosis , you may qualify for Medicare almost immediately.

Help for Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries

If you get Medicare and have low income and few resources, your state may pay your Medicare premiums and, in some cases, other out-of-pocket medical expenses such as deductibles and coinsurance. Only your state can decide if you qualify. To find out if youdo, contact your state or local welfare office or Medicaid agency. Also, more information is available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling the Medicare, toll-free number, . If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY .

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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Medically Qualifying For Benefits

Every application for disability benefits is evaluated using the Blue Book, the SSAs manual of impairments and the evidence required to prove disability with each listed condition. Autism is one of the hundreds of conditions listed in the Blue Book.

Autism is listed in Section 12.10 for adults and 112.10 for children. To meet the listing for either a child or an adult, medical evidence must show:

  • Pronounced difficulty in interacting socially, especially in responding or reciprocating
  • Impaired communication skills, verbal and/or non-verbal
  • An inability to participate in imaginative or creative activities or thought
  • Limited interest and participation in varying activities

To meet either of these listings, you or your child must also satisfy the following requirements:

  • Children between one and three years of age must show one of the following signs, while kids age three to 18 must show at least two:
  • Severe impairment in age-appropriate functioning, documented through extensive parental, teacher, and or doctor or other caregiver statements, and/or through standardized tests.
  • Pronounced difficulties with concentration, follow through, or the pace at which tasks are completed

Autism And Social Security Disability

katiebrandtdesign: Social Security For Kids With Autism

Autism is estimated to affect anywhere from three to six children out of every 1,000 living in the United States, and that number may be going up. Experts estimate that the occurrence of autism has increased tenfold over the past decade. The limitations caused by an autistic condition can create significant financial hardships for the individual’s family. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to offset some of the financial burden caused by the condition. If you or someone you know is living with autism, you may be wondering how the condition affects an individual’s eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. The following information can help you understand the Social Security Disability application process and how the Social Security Administration reviews disability claims based on an autistic condition.

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Qualifying For Los Angeles Social Security Benefits For Adult Autism

As part of the evaluation process, the SSA will evaluate the severity of the persons symptoms. Autism is generally considered a spectrum disorder, with some autistic individuals functioning at a higher level than others.

According to the SSA, autism is characterized by neurodevelopment deficits such as:

  • Impaired verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Deficient reciprocal social interaction and social functioning
  • Limited interests, activities, or focus
  • Restricted behavior, including compulsive hand flapping, rocking, or head rolling
  • Deficient personal functioning, including self-grooming, feeding, or toileting

The SSA looks closely at the persons records and medical tests and reports in determining to what degree the autism disorder limits the persons daily activitiesincluding his or her ability to earn income through some form of gainful employment.

Identifying the clinical specifics of the autism disorder is a necessity in determining whether a person qualifies for Social Security benefits. It is extremely important that an adult or child with autism is paid the benefits to which he or she is entitled. Consulting with a Los Angeles Social Security attorney can be a crucial step in protecting the right to benefits.

Please contact us today by filling out our online form, or call us directly for help.

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.

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Autism And Your Ability To Perform Physical Work

Autism does not directly affect your ability to perform physical tasks, but it does generally affect your ability to concentrate on those tasks or to receive the instructions needed to learn new tasks in the first place. While this is sometimes overcome for those with milder autistic spectrum disorders in workplaces where supervisors are trained to deal with employees with autistic disorders, many adults with autism are unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity. To be considered completely disabled by autism for Social Security Disability purposes, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Obvious and significant impairment in social function.
  • Obvious and significant impairment in concentrating.
  • Obvious and significant impairment in comprehending communication or communicating.
  • Obvious and significant impairment in cognitive functioning.

Successfully Receive Social Security Disability Benefits With Autism

Applying to SSDI as a Broke Autistic Adult

Families can often make sacrifices to support their children and make sure they live joyful and productive lives. When a family has an autistic child, sometimes those sacrifices financially increase in order to improve their childs quality of life through needs such as doctor visits and therapy. Luckily, the Social Security Administration offers disability benefits

Families can often make sacrifices to support their children and make sure they live joyful and productive lives. When a family has an autistic child, sometimes those sacrifices financially increase in order to improve their childs quality of life through needs such as doctor visits and therapy. Luckily, the Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to help those families with the medical and living costs of getting help for autism. As the application process can have its ups and downs, fully understanding it can be extremely useful to successfully file a disability claim.

Disability Benefit Programs

The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits programs to help families and individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

For Adults:

  • They cant do the type work that they did before
  • They cant do other types of work because of their medical condition and
  • The condition will last for at least one year.

How to Prepare

Application Process for Autism

Now Its Your Turn

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What Is Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance is a program administered by the Social SecurityAdministration that provides monthly cash benefits to disabled individuals and families who have a significant history of working. There is no limit on the assets an individual can have and still be eligible for SSDI.

How Does Ssi Work

Once your child is approved to get SSI, you or your adult child will receive a monthly payment. The amount will depend on your income and resources. For example, the 2014 base pay for SSI was $721 a month for a child age 17 or younger. This amount might change each year. The monthly payment may be spent on food and shelter, medical and dental care not covered under health insurance, and personal needs like clothing. Money left over is to be put in savings. However, if your child has more than $2,000 in savings, it could cause problems with their SSI benefits. See more about how to apply and the application process below. Your child or family does not have to pay taxes on SSI income.

Applying for SSI can be complicated or a challenge sometimes. Some parents said it helped them to remember to keep at it and stay strong and maybe try to build a relationship with someone working at the local SSI office to help you along the way.

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Adults Alternate Method: Residual Functional Capacity

If your condition doesnt 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.

Please Answer A Few Questions To Help Us Determine Your Eligibility

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Autism is a developmental disorder that results in impaired social behavior, difficulty communicating to others, and repetitive behavior patterns. The severity of the disorder can vary from one individual to the next. Children who have autism may exhibit the following signs: withdrawing from other people, limited eye contact, a delay in speaking and forming words, repetitive actions such as rocking, and an excessive focus on certain objects. Medical experts diagnose autism by performing neurological, cognitive, and language testing.

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Can I Work With Autism

Autism is a mental disorder marked by an unusual preoccupation with yourself leading to the detriment of communication, the ability to imagine, and the ability to interact socially with others. Obviously, adults with autism have a difficult time performing any kind of work which requires receiving any kind of instructions or paying attention for extended periods of time.

Sometimes those who suffer from autism are able to adjust to work environments. This is especially true of those with higher functioning conditions such as Asperger Syndrome. Statistically, however, most adults with autism are not able to work full time in meaningful employment or to live on their own unassisted. Even with significant attempts made to encourage employers to create environments in which autistic adults can perform meaningful work, only about 6% of adults with autism are able to maintain full time employment.

The cause of autism is unknown, though it is believed to be genetic. Early detection is key in treating autism. When autism is detected early, it can be treated medically and therapeutically. While a child with autism who receives treatment has a much better chance of being able to function independently as an adult, the chances are still relatively thin.

What Are My Rights As An Adult With Autism

Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults

Another benefit to obtaining an official diagnosis is eligibility for supports, services, treatment and protection under various laws. Below is a list of just a few of these protections that can help you address some of the challenges you may be facing as an adult with autism at work, at home or in the community.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation. In terms of employment, Title I of the ADA applies to public and private employers with 15 or more employees and prohibits discrimination based on disability when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits and more.

The Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Disability Employment Policy, is another tool that offers accommodation ideas specific to autism at

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

You can find the contact information for your state VR office at

Medicaid Home and Community Based Services

For more information, visit

Social Security

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

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If You Care For A Child Who Receives Benefits

If you receive benefits because you are caring for a disabled workers child who is younger than age 16 or disabled, you should notify Social Security right away if the child leaves your care. You must give the name and address of the person with whom the child is living.

A temporary separation may not affect your benefits if you continue to have parental control over the child, but your benefits will stop if you no longer have responsibility for the child. If the child returns to your care, they can start sending your benefits to you again.

Your benefits usually stop when the youngest, unmarried child in your care reaches age 16, unless the child is disabled.

If you become the parent of a child after entitlement let Social Security know so that they may determine if the child qualifies for benefits.

When a child who is receiving benefits is adopted by someone else, let them know his or her new name, the date of the adoption decree, and the adopting parents name and address. The adoption will not cause the childs benefits to stop.

What Happens When Your Child Turns 18

How to Apply for Social Security for Autism

At 18, Social Security considers your child an adult and different rules are used to determine if an adult can get SSI disability payments. Starting at age 18, SSI no longer will consider the income and resources of family members when deciding whether an adult meets financial limits. If your child is already receiving SSI, Social Security will review their medical condition when they turn 18. If your child was not eligible for SSI before their 18th birthday because of financial limits, they may become eligible at 18 and should apply again.

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Treatment Of Parental Income

Most children do not have substantial earnings or unearned income. Because SSI is intended to be assistance of last resort, and because the program is intended to offset the additional costs of a child’s disability to parents , parental income is deemed to the child. In calculating the deemed amount, SSA does not include certain amounts of income assumed to be available to the parents or to other children who are not eligible for SSI .3

For children who live with SSI-ineligible parents, deeming entails calculating parental countable unearned income by subtracting the sum of the parental living allowance , allocations , and the $20 general-income exclusion from total parental unearned income a negative result is treated as zero. Deemable parental earned income is then calculated by subtracting from gross earned income the combined amount of any allocations not counted as unearned income, the excludable first $65 of earned income, and any portion of the $20 general-income exclusion not used to reduce unearned income, then dividing that result by two. Subtracting the parental living allowance from the sum of countable parental earned and unearned income provides the amount deemed to the child.4 Deemed income is counted as the child’s unearned income when determining his or her SSI eligibility and payment amount.

youth is eligible

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