Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, behavior, and social interaction. The prevalence of ASD has been increasing worldwide, and around 1 in 54 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD. This article aims to explore the financial support available for people with ASD and answer the question, ‘How much is a disability check for Autism?’
Understanding Disability Benefits for Autism
Disability benefits are financial support programs provided by the government to people who have disabilities and cannot work or have limited ability to work. There are two main types of disability benefits available for people with ASD:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – It is a federal insurance program that pays benefits to people who cannot work due to a disability. People who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain period are eligible for SSDI benefits.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – It is a needs-based program that pays benefits to people who have limited income and resources and cannot work due to a disability.
Both SSDI and SSI programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The amount of disability benefits a person with ASD can receive depends on various factors, such as age, work history, income, and severity of their condition.
Eligibility Criteria for Disability Benefits
To be eligible for disability benefits for autism, a person must satisfy the following criteria:
- The person must have a diagnosis of ASD that meets the SSA’s criteria for disability.
- The ASD must significantly limit the person’s ability to work and earn a living.
- The condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
- The person must be under the age of 65.
If a person meets the above criteria, they can apply for disability benefits through the SSA’s website or by visiting their local SSA office.
How Much Are Disability Benefits for Autism?
The SSA determines the amount of disability benefits based on the person’s average lifetime earnings before becoming disabled. The higher the earnings, the higher the benefit amount. However, there is a maximum limit on the amount of benefit a person can receive, which is adjusted annually for inflation.
For 2021, the maximum monthly SSDI benefit amount is $3,148, while the maximum SSI benefit amount is $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a couple. However, most beneficiaries receive less than the maximum amount, and the actual benefit amount depends on various factors, such as income, living situation, and disability-related expenses.
Other Financial Support Options for Autism
Aside from disability benefits, there are several other financial support options available for people with ASD and their families:
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage to financially eligible individuals and families. Medicaid waivers are optional programs that allow states to provide additional services and supports to people with disabilities outside of the regular Medicaid program.
Each state has different Medicaid waiver programs available, and the eligibility criteria and services provided may vary. Some common Medicaid waiver programs for people with ASD include Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers, Autism Waivers, and Waivers for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Special Education Services
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires public schools to provide special education services to children with disabilities, including ASD. Special education services may include individualized education plans (IEPs), therapies, and other interventions to help children with ASD succeed in school.
Parents or guardians of children with ASD can request an evaluation to determine whether their child is eligible for special education services. If a child is found eligible, the school district must provide the necessary services at no cost to the family.
Many private health insurance plans cover some services for people with ASD, such as diagnostic evaluations, therapy, and medication. However, the coverage and out-of-pocket costs may vary depending on the plan.
Some states also have laws that require insurance companies to cover certain autism-related services. It is important to review the plan’s coverage and benefits before enrolling and to advocate for appropriate coverage when necessary.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers various tax benefits to families of children with disabilities. Some common tax benefits for families of children with ASD include:
- Medical and Dental Expenses – Families can deduct certain medical and dental expenses related to their child’s ASD on their tax return if they meet certain criteria.
- Child and Dependent Care Credit – Families may qualify for a tax credit for child and dependent care expenses if they paid for care for their child with ASD while they worked or looked for work.
- Earned Income Tax Credit – Families with low to moderate income and a child with disabilities may qualify for the earned income tax credit, which reduces the amount of tax owed or can result in a refund.
Autism spectrum disorder can have a significant impact on the financial wellbeing of individuals and families. However, there are several financial support options available to help mitigate the costs associated with ASD. Disability benefits such as SSDI and SSI, Medicaid waivers, special education services, private insurance, and tax benefits can provide the necessary support and resources to people with ASD and their families.
Here are some frequently asked questions about disability benefits for autism:
- Q. Can adults with autism receive disability benefits? A. Yes, adults with autism can receive disability benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria.
- Q. Can a child with autism receive both SSI and SSDI benefits? A. Yes, a child with autism can receive both SSI and SSDI benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria for both programs.
- Q. Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability benefits? A. No, you do not need a lawyer to apply for disability benefits. However, it may be helpful to consult a lawyer or disability advocate to understand the application process and to represent you in case of an appeal.
- Q. How long does it take to get approved for disability benefits? A. The application process can take several months to a year or more, depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case and the backlog of applications.
- Q. Can I work and still receive disability benefits for autism? A. It depends on the type of disability benefits you receive. SSDI beneficiaries can work and earn up to a certain amount without losing their benefits. SSI beneficiaries have more stringent work restrictions, and earnings above a certain threshold can result in reduced or terminated benefits.
- Benefits.gov. (n.d.). Disability Assistance. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.benefits.gov/categories/disability-assistance
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waivers. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/home-community-based-services/home-and-community-based-services-waivers/index.html
- Internal Revenue Service. (2021). Tax Benefits for Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/tax-benefits-for-persons-with-disabilities
- Social Security Administration. (2021). Factsheet. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf
- U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://sites.ed.gov/idea/