Q I have autism. Can I apply for SSI or SSDI?
Autism is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book of qualifying conditions. To receive disability benefits for autism, you must meet certain medical requirements.
- You must not be working. If you earn more than $1,000 a month, you will not qualify for disability benefits.
- Your autism must be severe enough to limit your ability to work for pay.
- You must meet certain requirements listed on the Social Security Administration’s list of disabilities under section 12.10 Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders, including medical documentation of your diagnosis showing:
- Difficulties in social interaction
- Difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity
- Restricted range of activities and interests
- Any episodes of decompensation
- You must have documentation that demonstrates how these symptoms restrict your activities of daily living, social functioning, ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace
Many young adults with autism qualify for SSI. If you received SSI for autism as a child, you will need to reapply on your 18th birthday. If you did not receive SSI as a child because your family’s income was too high, you will be able to apply based on your assets once you turn 18.
Most people with autism do not qualify for SSDI. To apply for SSDI, you must have held a job for a significant period in the past. Since autism is present at birth, having a work history would make it hard to prove that your autism affects your ability to work.
Getting the documentation you need to support an SSI or SSDI claim can be a challenge. Most people are rejected the first time they apply for disability benefits. Don’t give up. Get the facts in Massachusetts disability lawyer John Keefe’s book Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.