Is Autism a Disability?

Social Security Disability Autism

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs the brain’s information-processing capabilities.

The “Autism spectrum” is comprised of three disorders:

  • Autism
  • Asperger Syndrome (AS).
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)

All three diseases are present from birth, although individuals with AS and PDD-NOS are frequently not identified until their adolescent or adult years.

A child must display at least two symptoms of impaired social interaction, one symptom of communication impairment, and one symptom of restricted or repetitive behavior to be diagnosed with Autism.

Impaired social contact is an incapacity or significant difficulty in communicating verbally or nonverbally with others. Among the examples are an incapacity to approach others or to imitate and respond to other people’s feelings.

Communication difficulties might manifest as an inability to produce or respond to normal speech. Restricted and repetitive habits include aimless motions, rearranging things, obsessive focus on a particular activity, and a preference for a highly organized, unchanging environment.

Autism that is not identified until a person reaches his or her adolescent or adult years is, by definition, a milder form than autism diagnosed in childhood.

Asperger Syndrome is also classified as an autistic disorder. While some AS symptoms are highly similar to those of Autism, individuals with AS develop the ability to think and communicate frequently quite well. They can frequently learn to function independently in school, college, and employment if placed in an appropriately structured environment (limited social contact or a solitary working environment and a quiet work area as people with AS are sensitive to light and noise).

While some medical professionals consider Pervasive Development Disorder as a subtype of Asperger’s Syndrome, individuals with PDD-NOS often fall into a separate category of individuals with Autism or Asperger’s symptoms who cannot be diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits if You Have an Autism Diagnosis

While Section 112 contains the procedures for filing a disability claim for children’s Autism, there is no explicit listing for adult Autism (AS or PDD-NOS) in the SSA’s reference to disabling conditions. As a result, establishing total disability and obtaining disability benefits based on an AS or PDD-NOS diagnosis might be challenging, as there are no formal approval criteria.

In such cases, it is critical for the claimant (or claimant’s representative) to prove that he or she is not able to function well enough to meet the SSA’s threshold for gainful employment as a result of the afflicting condition, in addition to presenting a medical diagnosis attesting to the claimant’s Autism’s severity.

While satisfying the SSA’s Blue Book requirements is the easiest way to qualify for disability payments, an Autistic individual may be eligible for a medical-vocational allowance in some instances.

Your Case for Autism Disability

If autism has prevented you from getting employment or a related autistic disability, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. While total disability for children with Autism can be established by meeting the SSA listing criteria for that illness, total impairment for adult-diagnosed Autism (AS or PDD) can be somewhat more challenging to establish.

It is critical that you work closely with medical professionals and a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the most appropriate and complete documentation possible to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) to help ensure that your Autism disability case has the best chance of success possible.