The Autism Support Network provides important information to caregivers of children who have been diagnosed with autism and important advice to parents who might be struggling with the cost of caring for their autistic child. As the article pointed out, the Harvard School of Public Health estimates that caring for an autistic child can cost between $67,000 and $72,000 each year in direct medical and non-medical expenses. Many families have a hard time coping with these expenses and need to find solutions.
The solution discussed by the Autism Support Network was an application to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits. Our Manhattan disability benefits lawyers know that children can sometimes qualify for benefits through the SSA's disability program and that this may be a viable solution for parents who need help coping with costs. However, qualifying for benefits can be challenging as there are high denial rates, so parents may need to turn to legal professionals for help.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits for Autistic Children
There are some basic criteria that must be met in order for your child to receive disability benefits based on autism. Much of the criteria is the same for anyone applying for benefits. For example, the child must not be working or engaged in substantial gainful activity. The child's condition must also be long-term and, for SSI benefits, family income and resources must not exceed a certain level. The income of the parents is counted when an autistic child is under the age of 18, but a child who has reached maturity can apply for disability benefits without counting his or her parents' income.
Aside from the income and basic eligibility criteria, the child must also be severely impacted by the autism. Autism affects children in different ways, with some kids much more impaired by the condition than other children are. The Autism Support network tells parents that if their child's autism "makes it impossible for him or her to complete age appropriate activities," the child likely meets the criteria to be considered disabled for the SSA.
That specific criteria the child must meet is found on the List of Impairments, otherwise known as the "blue book." The list of impairments has a list of many different medical problems and disorders that can qualify a person for benefits provided he or she exhibits the required symptoms.
Autism is found in section 112.10 of the blue book, which makes it clear that you need to have medical proof of how your child's age appropriate social interactions, imaginative activity, and verbal and nonverbal communication skills are affected by the condition.
Proving eligibility can be tricky, and the Autism Support Network accurately points out that it can take months for a decision and that an appeal may be necessary to receive benefits. If you do need to appeal a benefits denial, it is imperative you have a legal representative to represent you and your child's interests so you will have the best chance of getting the money necessary to provide comprehensive autism care and support.
If you need help with your Social Security Disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717.