Can I Receive Disability Benefits as an Adult with Asperger’s?
Asperger syndrome is a severe problem for many people. Nearly 200,000 people in the US are diagnosed with the syndrome every year, and many more live with their condition every day.
For adults who were either recently diagnosed or have faced this condition their whole lives, it may be difficult to find and maintain a job. If you or a loved one has Asperger’s, you may want to consider filing for Social Security Disability (SSD). Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has made it more clear in 2017 that mental disorders are included under its list of disabilities. If you live in Arkansas and need an experienced Fayetteville AR disability lawyer to help you file for disability or appeal your denial, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law.
Can You Get Disability for Asperger’s?
The SSA does not only make payments to retired adults as part of Social Security. In fact, much of the SSA’s coverage goes to disabled children and adults.
The majority of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is paid to people who are no longer able to work due to a disability. This could be a condition they developed over time, like cancer, or the effect of a sudden injury, like a car accident. Even if you were injured at your job, you may be able to claim SSD on top of your Workers’ Compensation benefits.
In order to qualify for disability, you need to have a “disability.” This term should not carry a stigma – the name “disability” is not intended to offend anyone, but rather describe some of the important aspects of the SSA’s definition. The SSA defines “disability” with a five step process:
- Can you work? If you make less than $1,130 per month (2016 requirement), you can qualify for disability.
- Is the condition “severe”? To be “severe,” it must interfere with work-related activities.
- Is the condition listed? The SSA has a list, called the “Blue Book” of covered disabilities.
- Can you do work you used to do? If you are able to do some work, even if it is not your most recent job, you may not be able to collect disability.
- Can you do other work? If you can do any type of work, even outside your field entirely, you may not be able to collect disability.
If you can meet all of these requirements, then you should be able to collect disability.
When applying for Social Security, it is very important to be as specific, clear, and truthful as possible. In any case, if you need help applying, contact an attorney. If you get help the first time, you may increase your chances of a successful application. If you are denied disability, an attorney can help you with filing appeals and getting the SSA to change its decision.
Is Asperger’s a “Disability”?
In order to qualify for disability, the SSA’s third step requires that your disability is listed in the SSA’s official list of coverable conditions. Even if the disability is not on this list, you may still be covered for a disability that is of a similar nature and severity. Fortunately, “Mental Disorders” is one of the 14 categories for adult disabilities.
“Asperger syndrome” is not listed as a unique disorder. Rather, following the definition in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), Asperger’s is included under “autism spectrum disorder.” Though many people still use the name “Asperger’s,” autism spectrum disorder includes Asperger’s, as well as many other autism disorders.
According to Autism Speaks, the national organization for autism awareness, Asper syndrome is a “high functioning” form of autism. Many people with Asperger’s have trouble interacting with others and may become fixated on tasks. Additionally, though they are often intelligent, they may still have trouble working with others or independently on work-related tasks.
Because autism spectrum disorders are included in the SSA’s Blue Book, both adults and children with Asperger’s meet the third requirement for disability insurance.
Just because autism and Asperger’s are “disabilities,” according to the SSA, does not automatically mean you can get Social Security Disability payments. You still must meet the other four requirements, including the inability to work. Because Asperger’s is a “high functioning” form of autism, many with this syndrome still succeed at finding meaningful and gainful employment despite their condition.
If you have any doubts about your qualifications for Social Security Disability, talk to an attorney about your application.
Adult Asperger’s Social Security Attorney
If you or a loved one has an Asperger’s diagnosis, or any diagnosis for an autism spectrum disorder, they may qualify for Social Security Disability. Talk to an attorney today about filing an application for SSD. If you have already been denied SSD, social security attorney Ken Kieklak may be able to help you appeal Social Security denials. Call (479) 316-0438 today for a free consultation to talk about your options for Social Security.
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