A disability applicant with a diagnosis of autism, Asperger,s, or other Autism Spectrum Disorders may be eligible for benefits
If you or a loved one has Autism (or an Autism Spectrum Disorder) – a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction skills – you may be able to qualify for disability benefits in Seattle, either through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the Social Security disability insurance program (SSDI), depending on your work history and financial circumstances.
Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and are intended to provide a financial safety net to disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.
Well, that’s the intention… In reality, a complex application process has led to this safety net failing, causing many with Autism to feel abandoned by a cruel and unfair system.
But you don’t have to struggle with the arduous Social Security Disability Claims process by yourself. Here at Sampson Dunlap LLP, we have specialized in Social Security disability claims in Seattle and the surrounding areas for 30 years and so are au fait with Social Security rules and regulations.
In this blog, we’ll be sharing our experience and knowledge of applying for disability benefits, based on an autistic condition, to help you get the financial support you need.
”Children with autism who meet the SSA’s conditions could qualify for SSI disability benefits
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.
Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is described as a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.
What programs are available?
Children with autism who meet the SSA’s conditions could qualify for SSI disability benefits, providing their family’s income and countable assets aren’t above the SSI limits.
Adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, who have little or no resources or income can also apply for SSI, as well as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – so long as they have paid into Social Security via payroll taxes or FICA.
However adults without a sufficient work history, who haven’t earned a certain number of work credits, are limited to SSI.
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Am I eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
This means that the applicant must have:
*Trouble interacting socially
*Impaired communication skills
*Limited interest and participation in activities
The listing also stipulates that children aged one to three should have at least one of the following difficulties, while children aged three-18 are required to show two:
*Understanding, remembering, or using information
*Interacting with others
*Focusing on activities
*Adapting or managing oneself
Meanwhile adults, need to have at least two of the following:
*Serious limitations in activities of daily living
*Trouble interacting socially for any amount of time
*Difficulty concentrating or finishing tasks at a reasonable pace
*Repeated episodes of severe symptoms
While fulfilling the requirements of the SSA’s Blue Book listings is the best way to qualify for disability benefits, occasionally it is possible for an autistic individual to be approved for a medical vocational allowance.
”autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
How to prepare
Bottom line? Provide as much information – both medical and financial – as possible to help get your application over the line.
How and when do I apply?
The SSA strongly recommends that you “apply as soon as possible” to ensure that you do not lose benefits.
Once you have all the paperwork in place, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims can be filed online.
The SSI Disability Claims Process is a little different: you must schedule an appointment with your local SSA office to complete the SSI application.
What should I do if I am denied Social Security Benefits?
If you are denied social security benefits by the SSA, please know that you are not alone. It’s not unusual for an initial claim to be denied. According to the SSA, the average acceptance rate of initial applications is a paltry 22%.
A SSA disability denial doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Far from it. Firstly, you can file for reconsideration, and have the SSA review your case again.
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you will need to appeal. The appeals process is how most claimants with Autism Spectrum Disorder are approved.
We’re here to help
The Social Security application process is incredibly anxiety-inducing and, in many cases, can make autistic applicants’ health worse – so why start such a taxing procedure on your own?
Here at Sampson Dunlap, we understand that dealing with a disability such as ASD is hard enough as it is, and will fight from start to finish to help you secure the disability benefits you deserve.
Let Sampson Dunlap put our extensive experience to work for you today. We look forward to hearing from you.
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