Can I Get SSI For My Child Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder?

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If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism you know that daily tasks can be a struggle. As a parent, you may feel helpless and unsure of how to best provide for your child, and worry that you may not have the money you need to go to doctors appointments and specialists. Fortunately, Social Security disability is a social insurance program under which workers earn coverage for benefits, by working and paying Social Security taxes on their earnings. The program provides benefits to disabled workers and to their dependents. For those who can no longer work due to a disability, our disability program is there to replace some of their lost income. So which medical conditions can qualify you for monthly SSI or SSDI benefits in Arkansas?  Our legal team has assembled this guide to help you understand how each disability is evaluated by the SSA. Simply click on your condition below to get started.

For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has worked to secure social security benefits for the people who need it most. If you or a loved one has a medical condition and cannot work, it is important to speak to an attorney about disability benefits. You can arrange for a free legal consultation by calling (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.

What Determines Who is Eligible for Disability Benefits?

Under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability insurance program (title II of the Act), there are three basic categories of individuals who may be able to qualify for benefits on the basis of disability:

  1. A disabled insured worker under the age of 65;
  2. A person who became disabled before age 22 who is a dependent of a deceased insured parent or a parent entitled to title II disability or retirement benefits; and
  3. A disabled widow or widower age 50-60 if the deceased spouse was insured under Social Security.

Under title XVI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there are two basic categories under which a financially needy person can get payments on the basis of disability:

  • an adult age 18 or over who is disabled and
  • a child (under age 18) who is disabled.

Is Autism Covered?

Before any claim may be submitted to SSI and approved it must fall into one of the categories listed on the Social Security’s list of impairments. The SSA uses a manual of disabling conditions called the “Blue Book” to determine if a person is qualified for SSI benefits based on their individual medical background. The Blue Book recognizes Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders as a disability and can be found under section 112.10.   The Blue Book defines Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders as those that are characterized by qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, in the development of verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and in imaginative activity. The Blue Book recognizes that certain activities may be harder for your child to complete, to qualify for SSI you will have to produce medical documents that demonstrated the following

  • Qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction; and
  • Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; and
  • Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests;

For older infants and toddlers (age 1 to attainment of age 3), resulting in at least one of the appropriate age-group criteria in paragraph B1 of 112.02; or, for children (age 3 to attainment of age 18), resulting in at least two of the appropriate age-group criteria in paragraphs B2 of 112.02. You must be able to prove the above criteria with sufficient medical evidence. This means that you must be prepared to provide the SSA with copies of:

  • Your child’s clinical history
  • Your child’s test scores
  • You child’s psychiatric records
  • Your child’s therapy records
  • Your child’s lab results.
  • Your child’s treatment history
  • Written statements from your child’s treating physicians.

Understanding the SSI Program for Children

If you have started to look for social security disability programs you may have immediately noticed that the programs are hyper technical and confusing.  The main program under Social Security Disability that children can qualify for is known as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI is a needs-based program. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, the parents or the child must meet the program’s financial criteria. The process of determining what income the SSA counts toward your income and asset limits is called deeming. The SSA uses the deeming process if your child lives at home, is under 18 years of age, and is unmarried. If these requirements are met, the SSA will count certain household income toward the income and asset limits of your household. In order to qualify your family’s income and assets must be less than $2,000 in a 1 parent household and less than $3,000 in a 2-parent household. Counted income includes:

  • The earned income of parents and/or a step-parent
  • The unearned income of parents and/or a step-parent
  • The resources of parents and/or a step-parent.

Income that is not counted includes:

  • Income received from providing foster care
  • Food stamps
  • Disaster assistance payments
  • Tax refunds on real property
  • Income that is used to pay child support.

To determine how much a child will receive in SSI benefits, the SSA will look at the household income and assets and the parental living allowance. As of 2013, the parental living allowance for an individual is $710 per month and $1,060 per month for a couple.

How Long Can an Individual Stay on Disability?

While there is no specified timeframe for how long a claimant can remain on disability, individuals who have been on disability for several years are subject to a “continuing disability review” (CDR). Most individuals remain on disability until their physical or mental impairment has had sufficient improvement to allow them to re-enter the workforce.

For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has worked to secure benefits for the people who need it most. If you or a loved one has a medical condition and cannot work, it is important to speak to a Fayetteville social security attorney about disability benefits. You can arrange for a free legal consultation by calling (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.

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