How to Apply for Disability Benefits with Autism?
The term “autism” is an umbrella term used by the Social Security Administration that encompasses encompassing three separate types of mental disorders: autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD-NOS). All three are congenital disorders interfering with the cognitive, physical and communicative abilities of children and adults.
Children diagnosed with autism are unable or have extreme difficulty communicating verbally and nonverbally. They engage in repetitive behaviors (arm flapping, spinning around, lining up items), do not acknowledge the presence of others and may not begin speaking until they reach preadolescence. Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS are usually less severe than autism. People with AS are often quite intelligent but suffer from a different set of symptoms involving social skills and empathizing with others.
What Criteria Needs Met to Apply for Autism Disability Benefits?
According to the SSA Blue Book, autism spectrum disorder qualifies for benefits if:
- Qualitative deficits exist in nonverbal communication, social interaction and verbal communication
- Applicants exhibit repetitive, severely restricted patterns of interests, activities and behavior
- Applicants are unable to or can only minimally remember or understand information, interact with others, maintain/persist/concentrate on pacing physical activity and complete daily tasks necessary for their well-being.
Criteria supporting a diagnosis of childhood autism must be submitted to the Social Security Administration in the form of physical and cognitive test results performed and completed by medical professionals. Neurological assessments, adaptive behavior tests and, less commonly, brain imaging tests are some of the many diagnostics available to help a child or adult get approved for autism spectrum disorder benefits.
In addition, the SSA may want to know what kind of treatment an applicant is receiving to improve symptoms of autism. Children with autism may be prescribed antipsychotic medications for serious behavioral issues or ADHD drugs meant to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Is It Difficult to be Approved for Autism Spectrum Disorder Disability Benefits?
Children with severe autism are generally approved for monthly disability payments. Adults with Asperger Syndrome or other autism spectrum disorder disability may have a difficult time proving they cannot work, especially if they do not suffer cognitive impairments. If you or someone you know has an autism spectrum disorder that significantly impedes their ability to maintain employment, call the Law Office of Daniel Berger today to schedule a consultation appointment with an experienced disability attorney.