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Obtaining Social Security disability benefits for autism

Autism is a condition that affects many people in New York. Aside from the problems autism can cause in a person's social life, many people who live with the condition also end up facing serious financial challenges. Like any medical condition or illness, autism necessitates medical care and other assistance that can be very expensive. Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance may be an option for these people.

As we discussed last week, an individual who wishes to receive Social Security disability benefits will need to apply. For adults, this means collecting medical information, doctors' and hospitals' information, as well as a list of recent employers. Once the information is compiled and sent in, an applicant will wait to hear back. Many people who have autism, however, are children, and a different process exists for them.

Supplement Security Income provides financial assistance to people have very little or no income, such as children or elderly individuals. If your child has autism and you are struggling to make ends meet, SSI may be the best option. While Social Security Disability Insurance is based on your work history, SSI is need-based. In order to qualify, a child wll have to show problems with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, imagination, and substantially lowered range of general interests. 

While it is certainly helpful to have benefits like SSI and SSDI available, the application process can be confusing and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are advocates available to help navigate the application process. Contacting a attorney who deals with disability benefits is a good place to start. 

Source: Age of Autism, "Autism and Social Security Disability Benefits," Molly Clarke, July 10, 2013

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