Autism affects over 3.5 million individuals across the U.S., with one out of every 59 children receiving a diagnosis. While the developmental disorder's symptoms vary by case, it poses serious challenges for both adults and parents of autistic children, often resulting in monetary struggles. Fortunately, many people qualify for Social Security disability benefits, which can reduce financial hardships.
What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability & Autism
What are the qualifications?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers two primary factors—medical need and income. For the medical qualification, the person needs to display communication struggles—whether verbal, nonverbal, or social—and behaviors that restrict their daily lives. Additionally, approval requires significant limitation in one of the areas relating to brain function, human interaction, or adaptability.
A person's income also determines their eligibility. Social Security disability is designed for individuals with financial needs. Yet, instead of one set number, the organization considers the size of the household, number of dependents, and location of the applicant.
Are the parents' income factored into a child's request?
If the individual is under the age of 18 or under 22 and still a full-time student, the SSA evaluates the household income in the decision process. However, for most applicants over the age of 18, the parents' financial situation isn't factored into the approval process. Even if the person still lives at home, only their income level is considered.
What documents are needed to apply?
One of the key elements of obtaining federal disability benefits is documentation. The agency needs proof from a reputable doctor that the child or adult meets the outlined medical requirements. It's also recommended to include paperwork related to treatments as well as statements from professionals, like therapists or teachers. For income, copy of taxes and bank statements, if applicable, may help with the verification process.
What's involved in the application process?
Adult applicants can apply online or in person at their local SSA office with an appointment. Parents requesting Social Security disability income for their children are required to schedule an in-person meeting. After submitting the necessary documentation, it's a waiting game. If approved, benefits begin within one to two months. If denied, you have 60 days to appeal the decision.
Are you overwhelmed by the application process for Social Security benefits? Reach out to The Gil Law Firm in Dothan, AL, for personalized guidance. Since 2000, attorney Rafael Gil III has assisted clients across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia with Social Security disability, personal injury, and bankruptcy cases. Visit the law firm online to learn more about their experience, and request your one-on-one consultation today by calling (334) 673-0100.