Social Security considers autism and autism spectrum disorders as potentially disabling conditions. Autism can cause problems with social functioning. Autism affects your ability to communicate with others. You or your child may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for autism.
Autism Disability Allowance for Adults and Children
Adults may apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSD). They may also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Unlike adults, children can only apply for SSI benefits. You must have earned enough Social Security work credits to apply for SSD benefits. Unlike SSDI, you do not need to have worked to file for SSI. However, you must meet certain financial requirements. Social Security looks at parents’ income for children’s SSI benefits. Unfortunately, a disabled child can’t apply for SSI if their parents have too much income.
Autism Disability Allowance for Disabled Adult Children
Adult children could qualify for SSD benefits based on their parent’s earnings record. Social Security considers someone a disabled adult child if:
- You are over the age of 18
- Not married
- Disability that began before you were 22 and one of your parents receives Social Security benefits or is deceased
Social Security Disability: Autism Spectrum
Social Security evaluates claims using the “Blue Book”. The Blue Book includes a listing of impairments. Generally, to qualify under the Blue Book, you must meet certain conditions. Social Security considers autism under listing 12.10 for adults and 112.10 for children.
Social Security’s Listing 12.10 and 112.10 “Autism spectrum disorder”
First, the listing requires that you have all of the following documented in your records:
- Problems in verbal and nonverbal communication
- Problems in social interaction
- Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities
Second, you must show one extreme limitation or two marked limitations in the following areas:
- Understanding, remembering or applying information
- Interacting with others
- Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace
- Adapting or managing oneself
“Marked” means having a serious limitation in that area of functioning. “Extreme” means not being able to function in that area at all.
What if my child’s autism doesn’t meet the listing?
Your child’s autism may not meet the disability listing. Fortunately, Social Security can still approve them for benefits another way. Social Security will consider all of your child’s limitations. Specifically, they look at six areas of functioning or domains. Your child still must have at least one extreme limitation. Alternatively, they can have two marked limitations. These areas of functioning include:
- Acquiring and Using Information – how your child understands and remembers information, learning new information and recalling and applying previously learned information
- Attending and Completing Tasks – how your child pays attention, follows instructions, taking turns, finishing class work or homework, working at a reasonable pace
- Interacting and Relating with Others – how your child plays with other children, expresses anger, takes turns, understands body language and social cues
- Moving About and Manipulating Objects – how your child manages physical activities such as standing, balancing, running, jumping, using their hands and hand-eye coordination
- Caring for Himself or Herself – how your child handles frustration, takes care of personal hygiene, avoiding dangerous circumstances, and responding to changes in their mood
- Health and Physical Well-being – specific medical conditions like asthma or depression, side effects from medications or other symptoms or anything else that would cause problems functioning
What you need for an autism disability allowance
Social Security needs evidence to evaluate your child’s functioning. Evidence includes records from pediatricians, therapists and other medical professionals. Often, Social Security asks your child’s teachers to complete a questionnaire. Social Security can also consider other evidence. For example, attendance reports, report cards and other school documents might be helpful. This may include Individual Education Plans or IEPs. Your disability advocate will tell you what evidence would be helpful.
Autistic Disability Allowance for Adults
If you don’t meet the listing, Social Security considers your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is what you can do despite your symptoms. Particularly, Social Security looks at how your autism affects your ability to work. Therefore, you have to show how your conditions keep you from working.
Autism and your RFC
Proving disability in autistic adults can be challenging. This can be especially true if you have worked in the past. However, the right documentation can support your case. Your doctor should complete an RFC form. Your doctor can help explain how severe your symptoms are. There are also agencies that help disabled adults. For example, evaluation from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) can explain the problems you are facing in the work place. DVR helps place disabled adults in jobs. Therefore, they can provide specific limitations you would have at work.
Disability Help Group: Winning Autism Disability Allowance Case Study
For example, John is 23 years old, diagnosed with autism. He was in special education classes in school. He has not been able to work. John tried filing for SSI benefits due to his autism. Unfortunately, he was denied. He then turned to Disability Help Group for help. On his advocate’s advice, he talked to his doctor. His doctor provided an RFC form explaining John’s problems interacting with others and his problems concentrating. His advocate was also able to get John’s school records, including his IEPs. John had some testing with his local DVR. The testing showed that John could not perform any job duties without close and frequent supervision. Social Security determined that John could not work in full time competitive jobs. As a result, he was approved for Social Security disability.
Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652
Call now or fill out the contact form to Contact us for a free consultation.