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DisabilityHow Can I Get Disability for Autism?

May 16, 2022

April is Autism Awareness Month. It’s is the fastest growing disability in the world, and in 1972, the Autism Society sponsored an awareness campaign called National Autistic Children’s Week, which has become a month-long awareness event every April. The month kicks off with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. In this blog post, Watson and Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., discusses Autism Awareness Month and autism. 

Social Security Disability Lawyer in Omaha and Council Bluffs 

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O.’s Social Security Disability team can help you secure benefits needed  to support yourself. Chellsie Weber, our wildly successful and experienced disability attorney, and Abby Reid, our wonderful and thorough disability paralegal, can offer support and advice as it pertains to your disability and the benefits approval process. Remember, you’re more likely to have a successful disability claim with an attorney by your side. Call us today at 402-991-2100. You also can share your story here.

Disability Benefits For Autism 

Both adults and children with autism may qualify for disability benefits. There are specific criteria for adults and children applying for disability through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Autism is a developmental disorder that can lead to the individual having difficulty communicating with others, impaired social behavior, and having repetitive behavior patterns. 

Children with an autism diagnosis may have the following symptoms, including limited eye contact, have a delay in forming words and speaking, withdraw from other people, do repetitive actions like rocking back and forth, and have an excessive or obsessive focus on certain objects. Autism is diagnosed through language, cognitive, and neurological testing. 

If a child younger than 18 has autism, specific financial criteria must be met as well to qualify for disability benefits. A child is considered to have access to a portion of the parental income, so a process called deeming is used. The household income is added up, then deductions are made for each member of the household. If the financial criteria are not met, the child does not qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Child claims are evaluated using the childhood disability listing for autism spectrum disorders, which is Listing 112.10, or by showing the child’s autism is functionally equal to the autism disability listing because the autism causes the child to have extreme functioning limitations. Tests accepted by the SSA for an autism claim include the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale, the Revised Stanford-Binet test, and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. 

An adult with autism will be evaluated by meeting the criteria of the adult autism listing, which is Listing 12.10, which has the same criteria as the listing for children. An adult that does not meet the criteria of the listing, may qualify using a medical-vocational allowance, which takes conditions, age, work history, educational background, transferable skills, and other details into consideration. 

Tests accepted for an adult disability claim for autism include the Wechsler series, Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised, and the Third Edition Peabody Picture Vocabulary. 

The Requirements For Disability For Autism 

To qualify for disability with autism, you must provide medical evidence that show the individual meets the following criteria:

  • Deficits in social interaction
  • Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of interests, activities, or behavior
  • Deficits in both verbal and non-verbal communication

The SSA will also review records to see how limited the individual is at the workplace or at school. The individual must have an extreme limitation in one of the following areas, or a “marked” limitation in two of the following areas:

  • Understanding, remembering, or using information (ability to learn, remember, and use information, follow instructions, solve problems, use reason to make decisions)
  • Interacting with others (ability to cooperate with others, maintain friendships or work relationships, handle conflicts, initiate or sustain conversation, understand social cues)
  • Focusing on activities (ability to perform tasks at a consistent pace, avoid distractions, complete tasks in timely manner), and
  • Adapting or managing oneself (ability to regulate emotions, control behavior, protect oneself from harm, maintain personal hygiene).

Getting Your Claim Underway

If you or a loved one are unable to work because of autism, call the experienced disability attorneys at Watson and Carroll for a case evaluation. 

About Watson & Carroll 

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., is not a high-volume law firm that only speaks with clients when it is absolutely necessary. For us, it’s personal. Our team works closely with our clients and their loved ones – not only so that we understand their challenges and concerns, but so we can tailor our approach to address those factors, aggressively pursue results, and secure peace of mind. Whether it is a medical malpractice case or advocating for disability benefits, we work to protect our clients and make sure their rights are upheld. 

Our firm can help. Call 402-991-2100 or email contact@watsoncarroll.com. You also can fill out our confidential contact form

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