Aspergers syndrome and SSI benefitsRecently on our disability forum a user asked, If I have a son who has Aspergers syndrome is it possible for him to qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits? Aspergers syndrome, which was identified in 1944 by an Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder which is considered on the autism spectrum and causes delays in socialization and communication. People with Aspergers syndrome may have challenges dealing with other people and may suffer developmental delays.
Aspergers syndrome and common symptomsAlthough individuals with Aspergers syndrome may exhibit a wide array of traits and characteristics, there are several which are quite common for most people including:
- Uncoordinated movement
- Rapid speech
- Stiff and monotonous tones
- Unable to understand common humor
- Difficulty sympathizing and understanding complicated emotions
- Repetitive movement and actions
- Unusual body posture
- Minimal eye contact
- Lack of facial expressions
- Avoidance of eye-contact
- Overly interested in single topics
Identifying Aspergers syndrome in your childIdentifying Aspergers syndrome can be much more difficult than identifying other developmental delays, such as Autism. Children with this condition may have delayed physical developments such as difficulty crawling, walking, or tossing a ball, but other developmental skills may be normal. For instance, they may learn to talk at the appropriate intervals, but over time parents recognize their language is more stilted than other children their same age. As the child ages, however, the condition is likely to cause a variety of difficulties: problems with co-workers, problems interacting with their peers, depression, anxiety, and difficulty navigating common social interactions.
Aspergers Syndrome and SSI benefitsThe Social Security Administration or SSA offers disability benefits for children who have both physical and mental health conditions which are so severe they cause developmental delays and which are expected to last at least 12 continuous months. Claimants must also have very limited income and assets to qualify for SSI benefits. There are a variety of conditions which may qualify for SSI benefits, and many of these conditions are listed in the SSA listing of impairments or blue book. To make a disability determination the SSA will first review if your childs condition is listed in the SSA Blue Book. If it is not, the SSA will determine whether it is as severe as a listed condition.
SSA Listing and Aspergers SyndromeAspergers syndrome is not specifically listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments, but other similar Pervasive Developmental Disorders are evaluated under the listing Mental Disorders 112.00, Section 112.10 Austistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. If you have sufficient evidence that your childs condition meets or exceeds this listing your child may qualify for SSI benefits. For example, under the listing the SSA will evaluate whether your child has the following:
- Deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction.
- Deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication skills and in imaginative activity.
- Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests, which frequently are stereotyped and repetitive.