Can my child with autism receive SSI benefits?
It is estimated that one in every 68 children today are on the autism spectrum, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings. Autism is a multi-system developmental disorder that can affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with the world around him or her. Autism varies significantly in severity. Children with severe autism may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to assist in daily living expenses.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits Due to Autism
The Social Security Administration includes “Autism spectrum disorder” among its listings of impairments. The definition of autism disorders was updated in 2017. To be eligible to receive benefits, you must provide documentation to support that your child with autism suffers from:
- Verbal and nonverbal communication deficits
- Social interaction deficits
- Repetitive and restrictive behaviors, interests, or activities
To receive SSI benefits, your child must be deemed severely limited due to autism. Those on the mild end of the spectrum will not likely qualify. If you can show that your child meets the above three conditions, then you must demonstrate severe limitations in at least two of the following fields:
- Interacting with others
- Focusing on tasks
- Managing oneself and adapting
- Remembering, using, and understanding information
There are several tests that can be used to help demonstrate that your child suffers from autism severe enough to receive benefits. You could seek an IQ test to demonstrate your child’s limited cognitive functioning. Teacher observations may point towards social limitations as well as the inability to focus. Doctors and teachers can attest to the child’s poor self-care skills.
In addition to meeting the medical requirements for SSI benefits, your family will need to meet the financial limitations. The SSI program has strict income and asset limits. Should your family exceed the income limit, your child may not be eligible for benefits. Currently, the income limit for SSI benefits is $750 for individuals and $1,125 for couples. Not all of your income will go towards the countable income limits. Contact an SSI attorney for help with seeking benefits to assist with the care of your minor child with autism.