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April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

Today is the sixth annual World Autism Awareness Day. You may think autism is a relatively rare disorder, but one child in 88 is has with autism and for boys, it is one in 54. For a parent of a child diagnosed with autism, it brings many challenges. The disorder is not a single condition, but a spectrum of behavioral disorders. A child may be limited in what they can eat or wear. They are often prone to disruptive behavior in social setting and can leave their parents exhausted emotionally and economically.

Autism is now often described as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD constitutes a range, or spectrum, of disorders that affect communication, social skills and some cognitive abilities of children. In states like Ohio, it can be financially devastating, as your insurance may not cover the expenses related to treatment. However, if your child meets the definition of disabled used by the SSA, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

SSI is a program that provides payments to those with limited resources. To be disabled for SSI benefits, children “must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities and the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.”

To demonstrate that your child with autism is disabled, you will complete the application for SSI, complete with educational and medical documentation. An attorney experienced with the SSI application process can work with to ensure your application is complete and has the appropriated documentation.

Source: ABC News, “Autism Bankrupts Families, Emotionally and Financially,” Susan Donaldson James, April 2, 2013

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