Disability, SSI

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

May 4, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

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.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

See Comments

About the Author


  1. Martin S.

    There’s no cure for people. Chat chat chat chat chat! I’m diagnosed with ASD and qualified for in-home assistive care, but I’m not sure I need one more person telling me how I should be living. As it is I can’t use my bathroom in peace, and my bedroom activities are surveilled by who knows how many people (incl. a number of individuals who wish me harm or death for being gay.) It’s as if ASD is the worst thing that ever happened to me – which it is – and folk got wind of this fact and opted to make it 100 times worse! F——g PEDOPHILES!!!

  2. Rebecca

    My husband reached full retirement age a few years ago. My daughter was on SSI but was put on child benefits when he started receiving his retirement benefits. I was also receiving spousal benefits. My daughter has autism and turned 16 this year. I am still supposed to get spousal benefits but cannot get any consistent answers on what I need to do at this point. I keep getting put on a back burner of “we will call back” but don’t hear back, or the “how old are you” in a condescending tone and “this can get tricky” and “you need certification proof” types of remarks even though I see nothing about that on SSA site regarding spousal benefits for spouse caring for disabled child. Do I need to appear in a local FO with all of her current medical records and have her put on disabled child status before I can get spousal benefits again? She meets all the blue book rules so I see nothing “trick” about this. I need help from somebody who understands this process.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Rebecca. We are sorry to hear about your experience. 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. 

    • Lorica

      Always start your SSI journey with an attorney. No sense starting something you can’t finish because the paperwork in insane. An attorney will do everything and because most SSI attorneys don’t get paid less you win well chances are great you will. It took me 4 years to see the actual judge because on the way to do an at home visit with my case worker because I’m handicap… He was robbed and all my files were stolen his computers everything was nice to hear the govener was sorry…
      Non the less had I not had an attorney I would have waited many more years to refile etc… So start there then no problems…. Good luck…

  3. Ricky E.

    I have a son with a mental disorder called Fragile X syndrome. He has been mentally handicapped and will be his entire life. My question is can he receive more help than he does? He is totally disabled and can not function in society. He receives 1300.00 / mon SSI and 90.00/mon. food stamps. Can this be reviewed? With rabid inflation ninety dollars a month is hardly nothing. Thank you.

  4. abderrahim c.

    I applied for ssi on 01/27/2023,on 04/27/2023 I called DDS to check on my claim status ,I was told that I will receive a DDS letter on 05/27/2023.
    It’s puzzling me

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Abderrahim. Thanks for visiting our blog. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office for assistance.  You can also call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps.

  5. Tony

    Do they give disability for being too white or black. If you are more than 50% white or 50% black, then that is a severe case of whiteness or blackness. Doesn’t this skin disorder qualify for disability under adult medical listing 8.00.

    • Marc

      What an absolutely despicable comment. And totally unnecessary and irrelevant, as well.

  6. Sharon A.

    What happens when these autistic children become adults? What happens if they get married? Do you think they are instantly cured? No? Then why are they not eligible to receive a check?

  7. Robyn B.

    What about autistic adults, that have also been diagnosed with EDS?

  8. Jenn

    SSI is a blessing however its not the fix all and is barely enough to pay half of rent. There are so many of us ASD parents who are forced to become full time caregivers and homeschool teachers unpaid. We are forced to live at poverty level due to lack of community resources to help the parent work like respite and proper school settings.

  9. walker

    Article is great and very informative but what about the people that have depression or anxiety so bad that they either have to miss work or the ones that have PTSD and has to watch over there shoulder all the time. what about those people that have to fight everyday to get some help and struggle with them getting a job or keeping a job. They have a disability to don’t you think maybe there can be a program for that also

  10. Andrew H.


    • Charlene

      It’s wonderful that you write an article acknowledging the autism spectrum and SSI. My grandson is autistic and my daughter has been struggling and juggling employment while she waits to hear from Social Security. It’s been more than two years where’s your answer?

Comments are closed.