Can a child with autism be refused SSI benefits?


Parents of children with autism are inundated with questions while trying to provide the best care for their children. There are many options for therapy, medical assistance, physicians, and the list goes on. Knowing which options will be best for their autistic children, and whether they will have the financial resources to pay for them, sometimes leaves more questions than answers.

The cost of raising a child is astronomical, adds to the challenges many children with autism face, and the amount increases dramatically. Getting help paying the ever-growing bills can be overwhelming.

In this article, I hope to make the process a little easier, by taking some of the guesswork out of a line of financial support that may be available to your family if you are based in the United States: Monthly Benefits Through Income. Supplementary Security (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

What exactly are SSI and SSDI?

The differences between SSI and SSDI are important. While a person qualified for SSDI is also qualified to receive SSI, the reality is that someone who qualifies for SSI would not necessarily be qualified for SSDI.

The SSI provides cash benefits to children under the age of 18 whose medical eligibility constitutes acceptance. The SSDI provides disability benefits to adults who were disabled in their childhood (under 22) who may be eligible under the same criteria as children eligible for SSI, as disability benefits would be covered by the health record. their parents’ social security income.

How to qualify for the SSI

According to Social Security Administration guidelines, a person under the age of 18 is considered disabled if they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (including an emotional or learning problem) that:

  • Causes marked and severe functional limitations
  • Can lead to death; Where
  • Has lasted or is likely to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months


In order to be considered eligible to receive SSI or SSDI payments, families with children with autism should meet the criteria financially and be medically eligible. To be considered, they will also need to provide medical documents proving that their autistic child meets the requirements via the medical records.

They would answer a few questions regarding the severity with which their child’s activities are limited. They will also need to prove their family’s income level (this could include the income of each member of the household).

The amount of each cash payment would correspond directly to the household income level. The smaller the income amount, the higher the disability benefit check.

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After going through the process, a parent, Heather Holly, told me that her child on the spectrum was ultimately only entitled to $ 7.50 a month. “It was definitely not worth it for me,” she commented.

Other children and their families reported receiving more than $ 600 per month in SSI or SSDI benefits. It all depends on what criteria line up a certain way, and where you live. Each state has its own guidelines regarding how much it pays, what resources it considers for a child to be eligible, and what constitutes acceptance.

Anyone receiving Social Security disability benefits should monitor their ability to meet these criteria, as their case will often be reviewed. Changes in household income, for example, would affect eligibility and the amount of benefit payment.

The other reason there would be a fluctuation in the amount, or even loss of eligibility, would be if there were changes to some of the qualifying disabilities. The Social Security Administration has strict eligibility standards. If the condition to which your child is entitled is no longer a problem for them, the ability to receive cash benefits or the amount you receive will decrease.

Can a child with autism be refused ISS?

So, can your autistic child be denied additional security income or social security disability insurance? Yes. However, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA): “If your child meets any of the eligibility requirements, they can receive SSI payments immediately. If the state agency ultimately decides that your child’s disability is not severe enough for SSI, you will not have to repay the SSI payments your child received.

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If you are asked to take your child for a medical exam or test, they will be covered. If any of the challenges your child is facing makes them medically eligible for initial assistance, SSI may be able to help, even if only for a short time.

For some families, the process of requesting and securing the ISS or SSDI, while tedious, is worth the money they get. For others, the amount is too small to make a sufficient difference. The ratio of the benefits to the hassles is worth weighing.

How to apply to SSI or SSDI?

After determining your family’s eligibility for SSI or SSDI, you can apply for your benefits online or make an appointment by phone. There will be someone who will help applicants determine their eligibility and walk you through the application process via the SSA toll-free line: 1 (800) 773-1213. You can also visit your local SSA office.

Be prepared to answer a few questions and give your consent to the doctors, therapists, and other professionals who have worked with your child to also provide additional medical evidence and other information. You will want to have documents proving that your child needs disability benefits, including:

  • Your child’s medical record, as well as the names and contact details of all professionals who have worked with your child, your child’s doctor and the dates of their appointments
  • A list of symptoms that cause significantly restricted function. This could include: extreme limitation in one area or another, significantly restricted repetitive patterns, repetitive behavior patterns, a lack of the ability to maintain personal hygiene, and limited social interaction through problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. verbal
  • Your social security card and that of your autistic child
  • Proof of income for your household, including family members living with you
  • School records: report cards, individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 handouts, teacher contact information (these can provide a backup of how your child with autism is limited in his or her function to support conversation, complete tasks and controlling behavior, or how their interaction skills, behavior, interests, or activities are affected at school.)
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of financial resources according to SSA standards

The more information you have with you, the better. If you think your child with autism qualifies for disability benefits, act quickly. Apply as soon as you can, so your child and family can start receiving disability benefits in a timely manner.

The need for SSI and SSDI

Due to the strict eligibility conditions, the number of children actually receiving SSI benefits does not increase. As a result, many children deprived of SSI benefits remain in poverty.

While some may tell parents of children with autism not to bother trying to get SSI for their children, for many it is worth it.

One thing is certain, the need for social security benefits is increasing. The estimated number of people living in poverty for the year 2019 was 39,490,096. The US Census Bureau reported in 2019 the number of people, under the age of 18, who were considered to be living in poverty was estimated at 13,377,778: a whopping 16.8%!

Maybe in the future things will move forward, which will make the process of acquiring these funds easier. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have a lot, it is where we provide enough for those who have plenty. have little. “

What Should Families With Children On The Autism Spectrum Do?

As with so many other things, family members must decide for themselves whether SSI or SSDI is something they would like to pursue. If the answer is yes, the work begins to see if their family meets the criteria for their child to be eligible.

On request, and by providing the necessary documents, it is then in the hands of the SSA. If approved, they will need to frequently review their eligibility and report any changes, however small, that occur in their circumstances that could potentially affect their ability to continue to receive funds.

They may be denied benefits, but they may also receive an amount that would allow them to better take care of their children. You never know until you try!

The references:

Social Security Administration (ASS). Understanding Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income 2021. , of% 20not% 20less% 20than% 2012% C2% A0months.

ASS. Benefits for disabled children 2021.

ASS. Disability benefits

ASS. Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resources 2021.

Anderson and. Al. Trends in Supplemental Security Income Payments to Autistic Adults April 8, 2020:
United States Census Bureau. State of poverty during the last twelve months 2019.