Autism is a disorder that can result in costly medical bills, which may place a considerable financial burden on families who don’t earn a high income, as research shows it can cost between $67,000 and $72,000 per year in direct medical and nonmedical expenses to care for a child with autism. Fortunately, according to eligibility requirements implemented by the Social Security Administration (SSA), children struggling with autism may qualify for disability benefits to help cover the cost of medical bills and other expenses, including special education and child care. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, and you believe he or she may be eligible for disability benefits from the SSA, or if your child’s Social Security disability claim has been denied, consult our knowledgeable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today to discuss your legal options.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits
When you apply for Social Security disability benefits on behalf of your child, the SSA will compare his or her disorder to the guidelines listed in its official manual of disabling conditions. Autism is covered under Section 112.10 of the SSA manual, which deals with autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders. According to the manual, in order to pursue disability benefits for your child, you must be able to prove that he or she has a disorder characterized by developmental deficits in the following areas:
- Imaginative activity
- Age-appropriate social interaction
- Verbal and non-verbal communication skills
In order for your child to qualify for disability benefits, you will be required to provide medical records indicating that he or she struggles in these three particular areas. It may also be beneficial to provide detailed statements from professional adults who interact with your child on a regular basis, including caretakers, medical professionals or educators.
SSDI vs. SSI Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration offers two separate disability programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the former of which requires work history and tax contributions for eligibility. Because of this, children typically do not qualify for benefits under the SSDI program, and will likely only be eligible for SSI disability benefits. SSI is a needs-based welfare program that offers financial assistance to disabled, blind or elderly individuals who earn very little income. In the case of a child with autism, his or her family’s income and resources will be considered by the SSA when reviewing the Social Security disability claim.
Our Experienced Attorneys Can Help
According to the SSA, a child is found to be disabled if he or she is under the age of 18 and: does not have a job that the SSA considers to be substantial work; has a mental or physical condition that results in marked and severe functional limitations; and the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months or is likely to result in death. If your child has been diagnosed with autism and you are struggling with overwhelming expenses associated with the condition, contact our qualified lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak for legal help. Your child may be entitled to disability benefits through the SSA’s Supplemental Security Income program, which can help cover the cost of medical bills, child care and special education for your child. Don’t hesitate to protect the rights of your child; contact our Atlanta-based law firm today.