Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

Autism and disability benefits: what are the criteria?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2013 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

There is perhaps nothing more difficult for a parent than to see their child struggling or suffering. Although many parents do their best to be there for the children through all the ups and downs of their life, parents of disabled children often have even more challenges to conquer.

Parents in Texas and across the country are finding ways to deal with the challenges that come with autism. Because autism is considered a spectrum disorder, it can present itself in many ways, varying drastically from child to child. While one child may have a very hard time doing things that other kids his or her age can do well, another child may keep up just fine. For those parents that have a child who fits into the former category, things like therapy, special education and medications can quickly become expensive. In fact, it can reportedly cost between $67,000 and $72,000 per year to take care of an autistic child.

For this reason, parents may consider seeking disability benefits for their child. Those extra funds can make a large difference in the level of support a child receives. Of course, there are certain criteria that have to be met in order for a child to receive these benefits.

For example, the child has to have had the condition for 12 months or is expected to have the condition for at least that long. The condition, physical or mental, has to “result in marked and severe functional limitations.” In terms of this criterion, medical documents, such as tests and clinical findings, will go a long way toward proving the severity of the condition. Another crucial part of proving benefits-worthy disability is showing that the disorder causes deficiency in imaginative activity, in communication skills, as well as age-appropriate social interactions.

Although meeting all there criteria may seem like a challenge, it is important to remember that there are legal professionals that have years of experience in helping individuals through the process and they work hard to advocate on a child’s behalf.

Source: Autism Support Network, “Social Security Disability benefits for children with autism,” Molly Clarke