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Ssi For Autism Over 18

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When a parent decides to draw Social Security retirement, usually between ages 66 to 70, there is a mandatory question in the process of applying: Do you have any children with a disability where the onset was prior to age 22? If yes, that child begins to draw SSDI based on the parent’s earning history. The amount will be half of the amount the parent is drawing from Social Security. In 24 months the child will also start to receive Medicare.

How does this change affect the child’s eligibility for other services? If the disabled adult child’s monthly income goes up because of receiving SSDI, he or she is in danger of losing services based on low income, particularly the child’s SSI, which comes with regular Medicaid benefits. Loss of Medicaid will mean loss of Medicaid Waiver services . However, there is a way to avoid this series of losses: file an application for the DAC, Disabled Adult Child Program, with Texas Department of Health and Human Services along with supporting documents, i.e. letter of guardianship and copies of bank account statements, etc. This form should be completed and filed with the HHSC office at PO BOX 149024, Austin, TX 78714 or online at If you have questions you may contact any local office:

The Bryan/College Station office number is 979-776-1510.

Disability Determination For Children Under 18

Children with certain disabilities can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits beginning from birth. Because autism is a Spectrum Disorder, whether children qualify for assistance will depend on the severity of their symptoms. To qualify for a disability rating, the SSA uses different criteria for children than for adults.

Children with severe autism limitations will generally qualify. The SSA considers a child under 18 to be disabled if they have a permanent physical or mental condition that very seriously limits their activities.

The Social Security Administration clarifies that conditions must be established with medical evidence. This means doctors documentation of symptoms, along with lab results. A parents own listing of symptoms is not enough alone to show the disability, but a parent can help provide full details of the level of daily care and assistance that the child needs. Its also helpful to include written statements from any professionals who work with your child and can attest to their challenges. These can include health care provides, teachers, or caretakers.

Medical Qualifications And Autism

The SSA uses its own medical guide, known colloquially as the Blue Book, when determining if an applicant is eligible for Social Security benefits. The Blue Book lists all test results or symptoms needed to be approved for disability benefits. Autism is listed as a qualifying condition in the Childhood Blue Book. To be eligible for SSI, your child must have medical documentation of both of the following:

  • Measurable deficits in verbal and non verbal communication, as well as deficits in social interactions, AND
  • Restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities

Additionally, a child with autism must have extreme limitation in one, or noticeable limitations in any two of the following criteria:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating and completing tasks
  • Adapting oneself, which means controlling emotions

The entire Blue Book is accessible online, so you can review the childhood autism listing with your childs doctor to help determine if he or she has the medical evidence needed to qualify.

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Can Someone Receive Disability Benefits For Autism

Yes, the Social Security Administration has two kinds of autism disability benefits for eligible individuals, including:

  • Social Security Disability Income : This is intended for adults who have worked in the past but now cannot due to disability
  • Supplemental Security Income : This is for disabled children and adults of lower income, and they do not need to have worked in the past to qualify

The various medical conditions and eligibility criteria are specified in the Social Security Administrations Impairment Listing Manual, also known as the blue book.

Parents of children under 18 with autism may qualify for SSI benefits, and people with autism who are 18 or older may qualify for either SSI or SSDI benefits. Adults with autism who have never worked may be eligible for SSDI benefits, based on their parents employment history.

The SSA provides a free, downloadable booklet titled Benefits for Children With Disabilities. While not specific to autism, it is a useful resource and starting point for understanding federal SSA programs for parents of children with disabilities. The booklet also covers SSDI benefits for adults who have been disabled since childhood.

Families of children who receive social security disability and SSI benefits for autism may be eligible for medical benefits, including:

  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Childrens Health Insurance Program
  • Special access to health care services under the Children with Special Health Care Need provision of the SSA

How A Child With Autism Can Qualify For Disability Benefits

Attack of the Autism: April 2011

This guest post is brought to you by Deanna Power, the Director of Outreach at Disability Benefits Help, an independent organization dedicated to helping people of all ages get the Social Security disability benefits they need. Deanna specializes in helping applicants determine if theyre medically eligible for disability via the SSAs criteria.

If your child has autism, your family may be eligible for financial assistance. The Social Security Administration offers monthly disability benefits for people of all ages, including minor children. While many children with autism have no difficulty qualifying for disability benefits for medical reasons, technical eligibility is more challenging. If approved, your family could receive around $750 per month that can be spent on any of your childs or familys daily living needs.

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Youth Applicant Employment And Earnings

Because many youths will potentially receive SSI payments over substantial periods, an important question is how many youth applicants eventually work, specifically at levels that will allow them to achieve economic independence to the extent of their ability. Table 4 compares the earnings outcomes for allowed and denied applicants. It presents information on average and median earnings, as well as the percentages of applicants with any earnings and with earnings above the full-time federal minimum wage and the SGA level. The table refers to the year of application as year t, and it tracks the earnings measures annually from 2 years prior to application through 5 years after application . Earnings are reported in 2012 dollars. Because the earnings data are complete only through 2012, calculations for some individuals who applied in later years are omitted when the appropriate number of postapplication years had not elapsed. For example, individuals who applied in 2009 are included in the earnings measures for years through t + 3 , but not in those for years t + 4 or t + 5 .8

Table 4. Selected earnings characteristics of transition-age SSI applicants during 20032012, by age at application, outcome, and interval before and after application

Interval Age 17
NOTES: Earnings amounts are shown in 2012 dollars . = Less than 0.05 percent.

Social Security Disability Income

Social security for adults with autism includes both the SSI and SSDI programs. Social security disability benefits for autism may carry over from childhood to adulthood for people who were receiving social security disability for autism on their parents social security record.

The SSDI program is for adults who are disabled from working. It is usually based on the recipients income before they became disabled. If the disability began before age 22, however, it can be based on the recipients parental income.

Once a child reaches age 18, the blue book adult criteria for disability determination takes effect, and these differ from the childhood criteria.

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Children Turning 18 Who Received Ssi Benefits

On average, about one out of every three children receiving SSI lose their benefits when they reach the age of 18. When your child turns 18, the SSA turns to a different test to determine SSI benefits eligibility. Your child will now have to qualify for SSI as an independent adult.

When a beneficiary is younger than 18, they are considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations. This condition must have lasted 12 months, is expected to last more than 12 months, or the condition will likely result in the death of the child. Because your child is not an adult, their ability to earn an income does not factor into determining eligibility. However, there is still an income limitation. This income requirement extends to family members, meaning a child could be denied SSI because of the income of their family members.

Visit Your Doctors And Therapists Regularly

Is my grandchild eligible for Social Security benefits?

SSA needs proof that you are still disabled when you turn 18. It is very important that you get treatment from your doctors regularly so that SSA will have the information it needs. If you have depression or anxiety be sure you are getting treatment for it and taking any medication your doctors prescribe.

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Finding Records And Documents

You will need to have important documents handy during the SSI application process. It is crucial to keep your child’s medical records organized in a care notebook with all your child’s medical and educational paperwork. The Social Security Administration will ask for many of these documents and accepts original documents only.

Here is a partial list of documents and proof to gather. We recommend you read over the full list of documents you may need on the SSI website.

  • Identification and proof of age: your child’s birth record or certificate and their Social Security card or number.
  • Proof of income: payroll stubs, tax returns, and checking account statements for the family or for your adult child.
  • Proof of living arrangements: rent receipt, deed, or property tax bill for the family.
  • Medical records: names of all your child’s medications, names and addresses of their doctors and other medical providers, and medical reports.
  • Education documents: a copy of your child’s Individualized Education Program , names and addresses of all teachers, caregivers and school therapists who see your child.

Once your child is approved for SSI, they will begin getting monthly payments, including back pay, for the months in the waiting period. If you want to learn more, the Social Security Administration has a web page about the application process and your rights.

What Should Families With Children On The Autism Spectrum Do

Just like with so many other things, family members must decide for themselves if SSI or SSDI is something they would like to pursue. If the answer is yes, the work begins to see if their family meets the criteria for their child to qualify.

Upon application, and providing the necessary documents, it is then in the hands of the SSA. If approved, they will need to review their eligibility often and report any changes, however slight, that occur in their circumstances that would potentially affect their ability to continue to receive funds.

They may be denied benefits, but they could also receive an amount that enables them to better care for their children. You never know until you try!


SSA. Benefits For Children With Disabilities 2021.

SSA. Disability Benefits

SSA. Understanding Supplemental Security Income Resources 2021.

Anderson et. al. Trends in Supplemental Security Income Payments to Adults With Autism 8 April 2020: United States Census Bureau. Poverty Status In the Last Twelve Months 2019.

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Can A Child With Autism Be Denied Ssi

So, can your child with autism be denied Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance? Yes. However, according to the Social Security Administration : If your child has one of the qualifying conditions, they may get SSI payments right away. If the state agency ultimately decides that your childs disability is not severe enough for SSI, you wont have to pay back the SSI payments that your child got.

If you are asked to take your child for a medical examination or test, it will be covered. If any of the challenges your child faces make them medically eligible initially for assistance, SSI may be able to help, even if it is only for a little while.

For some families, the process of applying and securing SSI or SSDI, though tedious, is worth the money they receive. For others, the amount is too small to make enough of a difference to go through. The ratio of benefits to hassle is one worth weighing up.

Characteristics Of Youth Applicants

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Among the notable differences between SSI applicants of different ages is an unsurprising decrease after age 17 in primary diagnoses of childhood and adolescent mental disorders not elsewhere classified. Table 1 shows that the frequency of that diagnosis dropped from 2.4 percent among 17-year-olds to 0.3 percent among older applicants. The percentages of applicants with an intellectual disability also varied by age, from 9.8 percent at age 17 to 17.1 percent at age 18 and to 9.1 percent at age 19. Notably, almost one-quarter of youths applying in the first 2 months of age 18 had an intellectual disability. A similar pattern emerged for applicants with autism spectrum disorders: The percentage more than doubled from 3.0 percent to 7.4 percent between ages 17 and 18, and reached almost 11 percent among applicants in the first 2 months of age 18, but dropped sharply to 2.6 percent for applicants aged 19. The percentages of applicants with congenital anomalies and with diseases of the nervous system and sense organs also increased noticeably at age 18. The diagnostic groups with the greatest percentage increases among applicants aged 18 typically were long-term conditions. Although it cannot be determined from the available data, it is likely that many of these youths were ineligible for SSI during childhood because parental income was too high.

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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 2022 base pay for SSI was $841 a month for a child age 17 or younger. This amount might change each year. The highest SSI payment is the same for both children and adults. 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, such as an ABLE account. 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 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 along the way.

What Are Ssi Benefits For Children

SSI or disability benefits come from a federal program paid for by taxes. SSI provides monthly payments to help pay for basic needs like medical care, food, clothing and shelter. You must be approved to get SSI. And the amount of money a person gets each month depends on their living situation and the money they make.Not everyone gets the same amount. To decide how much, the SSI program looks at money a person makes, benefits they have, and if they have someone else who is helping to pay for their living expenses.

To get SSI, you or your adult child must have money and resources or things they own that are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have resources worth $3,000 or less.

Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI are completely different benefits. Learn more on our page on SSDI.

Also, your child can get Medicaid for their health insurance if they are receiving SSI.

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What Happens To Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18

Many disability beneficiaries are children and teenagers about 4.4 million, according to the Social Security Administration . But what happens when your disabled child reaches age 18? Does Supplemental Security Income go away, or continue? Do you need to reapply? Our disability lawyers explore the SSI rules and regulations that take effect when a beneficiary turns 18.

Local Authorities Or Dads Local Offices

Employment Expectations and Resources for People with Disabilities I Kennedy Krieger Institute

Your Local Authority is under the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services or DADS. For more information, go to

Local authorities serve as the point of entry for publicly funded intellectual and developmental disability programs, whether the program is provided by a public or private entity.

What services are available?

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How Do I Apply For Ssi

Try to schedule your interview with Social Security to take place immediately after your child turns 18. You may want to call before the childs birthday, however the interview will not be able to take place until the child is 18. A person may not have more than $2000 in assets to be eligible for SSI. Adjustments may have to be made five years prior to age 18. Be sure to alert other family members not to give large gifts of money or stocks directly to your young adult directly or in their wills.

It may also be appropriate to collect monthly room and board from your young adult who will receive SSI and continue to live with you at home because this will establish a pattern of their paying a portion of their benefits towards monthly rent in preparation for them moving into their own housing.

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