Autism and disability benefits for childrenAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are general terms which describe a brain disorder which includes a variety of conditions such as childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. Each of these conditions varies in severity and effect but can include the inability to interact socially, increased repetitive behaviors, and uncommon verbal and nonverbal communication. Other common symptoms or behaviors can include intellectual challenges, sleep disorders, inattention, low motor coordination and gastrointestinal difficulties.
How do I know if my child has autism?Increased awareness and effective methods of diagnosing autism have enabled medical professionals to diagnose children at earlier ages, but the most obvious signs of autism generally emerge between two and three years of age. As with many mental and physical conditions, early intervention to treat the condition and to increase behavioral therapies can be critical. Talk to your childs doctor if you have concerns about your childs behavior or development.
Can my autistic child receive disability benefits?The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Insurance is offered to adult disabled workers who have a severe health condition which is expected to last for 12 continuous months and does not allow the worker to perform full-time work. Although SSDI benefits are offered to adults, some dependents, including disabled children, may be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits. Generally auxiliary benefits terminate for dependent children when they reach maturation, but if a child is disabled they may continue, under specific conditions, to receive SSDI benefits through adulthood. Supplemental Security Income is another disability program offered to the disabled, aged, and blind, including disabled children. If your child is severely disabled with autism they may qualify for SSI benefits if they meet the criteria outlined by the SSA and your family has very limited income and resources.
How will the SSA determine if my child is disabled with autism?The SSA maintains a listing of common conditions and symptoms they believe to be disabling for children. The listing for autism is under 112.00 Mental Disorders, sub-section 112.10 Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Under this listing the SSA will determine whether your child has the following symptoms:
- Does your child have deficits in development of reciprocal social interaction?
- Does your child have deficits in imaginative activity?
- Does your child have deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication?
- Does your child have markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests?