Disability, SSI

Recognizing the Needs of People on the Autism Spectrum and Their Families

May 4, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: May 4, 2023

Photo of Larry StairsSocial Security’s programs touch the lives of nearly every American. We remain steadfast in our commitment to reducing barriers to ensure people eligible for our benefits receive them. We provide income security for the diverse populations we serve, including people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.

Many parents and caretakers of children with disabilities lose work hours and income because of their children’s care needs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly financial support to low-income families with children who have developmental and behavioral disabilities. This includes ASD – and physical impairments.

Children under age 18 can get SSI if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability for children and live in a household with limited income and resources. We define a disability as:

  • The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits the child’s activities.
  • The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.

You can learn more about SSI eligibility for children and how to apply for SSI on our website.

We also serve those with ASD who want to enter the workforce. People with ASD may have questions about how ASD affects their employment options. They may also see their ASD as a barrier to employment. Employers have started to recognize that many people with ASD offer a variety of strengths. To see how we help those with ASD find employment, please check out Larry’s journey in our Autism and the Workplace feature article. We also invite you to learn more about Social Security’s Ticket to Work program.

We recognize the need for supporting, understanding, accepting, including, and empowering those on the autism spectrum. For more information about this observance, please visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s website for Autism Awareness Month.

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  1. William H.

    Have been unable to work since Dec 2020 and was diagnosed with ASD Oct of last year. I applied the same month, and the officer in charge of my case for some reason believed my condition to be called “ACD”. I was denied on this basis. While waiting for my appeal to be processed I am facing financial disaster. I experience significant difficulty with communication and with my nervous system function and am unable to find a job. I paid into disability when I was working and I can no longer return to my old career, and ASD is considered a disability as far as I’m aware, as well as ADHD, IBS, Chronic Depression, and Chronic Back Pain all of which I have. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, William. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this helps. 

  2. Charla I.

    I have cptsd and autism I can’t get a appointment soon enough for social security I now have natraul disaster trauma from tornados it is making brain ad body react 5 times worse

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Charla. We are sorry to hear about your condition. You can apply online for disability. To get started, visit here. We hope this helps. 

  3. Yalmary

    Does people diagnosed with chromosome deletion 9p
    is elegible for sis?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Yalmary. Thanks for visiting our blog. You may find our listing of impairments helpful. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you think you are disabled, you can file online for disability. We hope this helps.

  4. Jordan M.

    This is total garbage. I was diagnosed ASD more than 5 years ago. Illegal immigrants will get SS benefits before I ever do

    • Phuk Y.

      Shut up and stop crying you lazy ass hole. Maybe put some effort with applying instead of blaming people who are actually working then your sorry ass.

  5. Sharita W.

    I’m at a loss and don’t know what else to do I’ve been denied three times and I suffer with this condition I’ve had it since age 24 and I also have sickle cell I it’s hard to hold a job due to my ability to stand it hurts so bad it has caused me to pass out at work making me a liability at work I was receiving SSI but they discontinued it please anyone can u help me

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Sharita. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific concerns. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  6. Tina D.

    I am at a loss and don’t know where to start to help my 27 yo son. Since he was a young boy he has had challenges. I’ve enrolled him in multiple evaluations and he was always “borderline” whatever. Yet he has not been able to be a fully functioning adult. I believe he has Asperger’s which causes his severe social anxiety and difficulty getting and keeping a job repeatedly. My heart breaks as a mother as I don’t know how to help him. He says I just need a job to make enough money to live but he can’t leave his place so his options are limited. In addition, I wonder if he has bipolar, boarderline, of course. His health is deteriorating and he absolutely refuses to see a doctor or take any medication.
    Please help me. Where do I begin to help him. To at least get him qualified for SSID, so he has some income and doesn’t feel so hopeless. Thank you for any guidance.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Tina. We are sorry to hear about your son’s condition and your situation. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based disability program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI. SSDI pays benefits to those who cannot work due to a disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, providing the person has paid enough into the Social Security program. There are times when people can receive both SSI and SSDI, depending on their situation and whether they meet the requirements. For more information or to begin the application process, your son should visit our Disability Benefits webpage. For specific questions, he can contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. He can also contact his local Social Security office. He may also be eligible to receive social services from the state in which he lives. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in his area and find out if he qualifies, he will need to contact his state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

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