SSDI Benefits for Autistic Children and Adults

Ortega Disability Group

What to Know about SSDI for Autistic Adults and Children

How SSDI Applies to Adults and Children With Autism

Individuals with autism disorder may qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI). To do so, they must demonstrate that they meet a list of qualifying conditions provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA Blue Book categorizes autism spectrum disorder under mental disorders section 12.10.  To qualify, adults must present medical documentation for 

  • Nonverbal communication and social interaction
  • Qualitative defects in communication
  • Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, activities, or interests 

They must also prove extreme or marked limitation of two of the following

  • Social interaction
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
  • Adapt or manage oneself
  • Understand, remember, and apply information

The SSA defines autism spectrum disorder under section 12.00B8 as disorders characterized by qualitative defects in the development of social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and imaginative or symbolic activity. This definition also includes stereotyped patterns of behaviors or activities and loss of acquired skills early in life.

Section 12.00B8 expands this definition to include autism spectrum disorder with or without accompanying intellectual impairment and with or without accompanying language impairment.

Qualifications to File for SSDI Benefits for Children

Social security benefits for an autistic child younger than the age of 18 fall under section 112.10. You must prove medical documentation of 

  • Qualitative defects in social interaction, verbal communication, and nonverbal communication
  • Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities

Additionally, a child with autism spectrum disorder qualifies if there is marked or extreme limitation in mental functioning, such as

  • Understanding, applying, or remembering information
  • Social interaction
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
  • Adapt or manage oneself

The SSA characterizes children with autism spectrum disorder as those with qualitative deficits in the development of

  • Reciprocal social interaction 
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Imaginative play
  • Restricted or stereotyped patterns of behavior
  • Stagnation of development of acquired skills

SSI Benefits for Autistic Adults

Adults with autism spectrum disorder who already qualify for SSDI benefits can still receive supplemental security income (SSI). In addition to providing medical documentation to support their diagnosis, to qualify for SSI, individuals must also:

  • have limited income;
  • have limited resources;
  • be a US citizen or national or qualified alien;
  • reside in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or Northern Mariana Islands;
  • are not absent from the country 30 consecutive days or more;
  • are not confined to an institution at the government’s expense.

SSI benefits provide a monthly income for basic necessities, such as food, water, and shelter. Base payments vary depending on your living arrangement and countable income, which includes any SSDI payments you may receive. Support also varies by location, as many states supplement federal SSI benefits with additional payments.

How We Can Help

Even those who are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits for autism spectrum disorder often find their applications rejected. Whether you’ve applied on your own and got rejected or you’re just beginning to investigate the application process, an experienced SSDI lawyer will significantly increase your chances of success. 

Ortega Disability Group fights for the disabled community in Oakland, Alameda, and Las Vegas. We’ll fight for your SSDI or SSI disability benefits even if it goes to the Federal Court. If you or someone you know needs help filing for social security for an autistic child or adult, call us today at 800-322-1173 to request a free consultation.

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