Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits for Autism
Autism and other disorders that fall on the autism spectrum can make it difficult for children to reach specific developmental milestones and function socially. Adults with autism may be unable to work and earn a living, even with milder forms of the disorder.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes conditions like autism as potentially disabling. They may qualify you or your child for Social Security Disability benefits through SSI or SSDI.
What Is Autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a condition that affects behavior and communication. It may be indicated by a wide range of skills and symptoms. ASD can range between a minor issue and a disability that requires full-time care.
People with autism who have problems with communication may have difficulty understanding how other people feel or think. It may also cause them to have trouble expressing themselves through touch, facial expressions, gestures, or words.
Autism patients may also have problems learning. Skills may develop unevenly. People with problems communicating may still be incredibly good with memory, math, music, or art. Because of this, they may pass tests on problem-solving or analysis with flying colors.
There are more cases of childhood autism being diagnosed now than in past decades. However, the reason for the increase may be as simple as a change in how autism is diagnosed rather than a higher number of children born with the disorder.
How Is Autism Diagnosed?
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder early can make life easier for afflicted children and their families. However, making an ASD diagnosis can be difficult. Because there are no specific tests for the disorder, doctors rely solely on observing young children’s behavior and listening to parental concerns.
Autism symptoms vary greatly. Some individuals who fall on the “spectrum” are highly intelligent, able to take care of themselves, and live on their own. Others may have severe mental disabilities. No matter where they fall on the spectrum, your child’s diagnosis will require a two-step process. The first is making sure your child sees their pediatrician for their 18- and 24-month checkups. The doctor will talk to and watch your child as well as ask you questions about their behavior and development and your family’s medical history.
If your child’s pediatrician suspects your child has ASD, they’ll refer you to a team of specialists. This may include a neurologist, developmental pediatrician, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, and/or a child psychologist. They’ll evaluate further your child’s life skills like going to the bathroom, dressing himself, and eating as well as their language abilities and cognitive level. Your child must meet the requirements put forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association in order to receive an official diagnosis.
Social Security Disability Claims on the Basis of Autism?
Disability benefits applications are evaluated using medical evidence and the Social Security Administration’s manual of impairments, also known as the Blue Book. Whether the applicant is a child or adult, they must meet the specific requirements listed under Autism in the Blue Book. To do this, they must provide medical evidence that shows:
- Limited participation and interest in various activities
- An inability to participate in creative or imaginative thought or activities
- Impaired verbal and/or non-verbal communication skills
- Severe difficulty with social interactions, especially in reciprocating or responding
If you or your child fall on the autism spectrum and you’ve been turned down for disability benefits, it’s time to obtain legal help. The lawyers at Disability Help Center San Diego will help you collect the necessary medical evidence, guide you through the appeals process, and fight to get you the benefits your family needs and deserves. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our law team at (702) 786-0460 or contact us online.