My 3 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. I am having difficulty dealing with the costs associated with her disability. Does she qualify for any Social Security benefits?
This is a very good question. The short answer is that children with autism and other disabilities can qualify for Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI) under current Social Security law. There are two main issues that we need to address to determine whether your child qualifies for SSI benefits: These two issues are whether your child’s disability is severe enough to render her eligible for “disabled” status, and whether your child is eligible “financially.” Under Social Security law, to be disabled your child must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which results in marked and severe functional limitations which has lasted or is expected to last for at least twelve (12) months or result in death. The Child Listing of Impairments includes several physical and mental impairments and describes the required severity of each impairment. For the purposes of answering your question, we will use the Child Listing of Impairments that expressly addresses autistic children, ｧ112.10 – Autistic Disorders. Under this listing, the severity of your daughter’s autism and her age will dictate whether she qualifies. The language of the statute is rather complex, therefore it is imperative to seek professional advice from a social security attorney to determine whether the severity of your daughter’s autism qualifies her under the Listing. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume that your daughter’s autism meets the required level of severity. Therefore, she is eligible for SSI benefits thus far in our analysis, but we must make an additional inquiry. You must also determine whether your daughter will be eligible financially. Your daughter’s financial eligibility depends on the countable financial resources available to her. A parent’s financial resources are imputed to the eligible child as though the parent’s resources are readily available to the child. Available resources include income, cash, personal property, and real property. Whether an available resource is actually counted toward the total amount of countableresources requires an analysis that is beyond the scope of this response. However, note that substantial items like a home in which a family lives, one car (regardless of its value), personal goods valued at under It is also recommended that you do not get rid of your frustrations by eating chocolate, cakes, hearty dishes, and wines!FoodYour appetite is quite moderate, but you have a strong taste for parties and pleasure owing to your Venusian nature, since Venus rules and Libra. $2,000.00, and other items, are excluded from the household’s available countable resources. Since this is a complex area of social security law, you should have a social security attorney approximate the value of your total countable resources. For example, a single mother with a child claimant, may not exceed $4,000.00 in total countable financial resources, or the child will not qualify financially. Therefore, if you do not have available resources that exceed $4,000.00 it is likely that your daughter will meet the financial eligibility requirement for
SSI benefits. Again, keep in mind that substantial available resources such as a home in which a family lives, one car of any value, personal goods valued at under $2,000.00 and other substantial resources are not included in a family’s total countable resources. This means that a family can have these substantial assets, yet these assets will not count against them if they apply for SSI benefits for a disabled child. In conclusion, to fully answer your question regarding your daughter’s potential social security claim, you should consult an experienced social security attorney who can provide answers to these complex questions of whether your daughter’s impairment is severe enough for her to be eligible for benefits, and whether your countable financial resources do not exceed the limits dictated by social security law to make your daughter eligible for benefits. So long as your daughter meets both criteria, she may receive SSI benefits under current social security law. Should you have any questions regarding social security benefits, or if you would like to consult with an attorney, please contact our office.