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Adults with Autism: may qualify for disability benefits

Social Security disability benefits are available to those who suffer from qualifying medical conditions, both physical and mental. The Social Security Administration defines an eligible candidate as a person who isn’t able to work due to a long-term medical condition – lasting more than a year – or one that could lead to death. One particular mental condition that may qualify for benefits is Autism.

In order to obtain Social Security benefits for mental conditions, certain requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration must be met and are described in what is commonly called the “Blue Book”. The Social Security Administration released the most recent website version of the Blue Book in January 2017. Listing 12.10, Autism spectrum disorder, was among the updated sections of the book.

As with other mental conditions, those who have Autism may be able to qualify for SSDI if they satisfy both the medical criteria that must be present in the form of medical evidence and the functional criteria assessed by a rating scale to evaluate how functioning is limited because of the condition.

According to the Blue Book, the medical criteria that must be present in the form of medical documentation in order to qualify for SSDI for Autism are deficiencies in both verbal and non-verbal communication as well as social interaction, and “significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities”. In addition, there is functional criteria that must be met.

There are also many other considerations that factor into how a determination of eligibility is made and decisions can take three to five months. Applicants will need to submit a completed application along with medical documentation, proof of identity, citizenship, work history and earnings, as well as additional forms. Filing for disability benefits can be challenging, complicated and time consuming, so working with an experienced attorney can bring considerable peace of mind during the process.