Supplemental Social Security for Families of Children with Autism


Supplemental Social Security for Families of Children with Autism

For the parents of children on the autism spectrum, there is nothing more important than assuring that their child is receiving both an appropriate education and adequate medical attention. Early detection, diagnosis and intervention are the critical first steps in that process. Currently, about 11% of children are diagnosed “on the spectrum”. The condition knows no color or socio-economic boundaries and its causes are unknown. Due to the unique needs, Supplemental Social Security for families of children with autism can be considered.

When that child’s family is experiencing extreme financial need the process can seem overwhelming. Getting back and forth to the school and those doctors can be tough for families when there are work scheduling conflicts or transportation issues .Thankfully, the Social Security Administration will provide financial assistance to qualifying families of disabled children by way of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As with other varieties of disability offered by the Social Security Administration, once you have shown that you qualify financially, you must then prove that you qualify medically.

Proving a child’s disability often requires evidence from both the school and the outside healthcare providers. As autism is diagnosed more and more frequently schools and outside healthcare providers are getting better at spotting and addressing some of the classic symptoms and special needs associated with autism. One source of comfort or hope can come in the form of special education or diverse learner programs.  The law requires that school districts provide an appropriate education for all children and children with autism are beginning to benefit from increasingly enlightened and personally tailored individual education plans (IEP).

But just as children on the autism spectrum have very special needs, of various levels of severity, educators have various levels of familiarly with and capacity to execute those IEPs. Even in a perfect scenario of hand in glove cooperation between the primary care teacher, special education teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist and social worker’s-there is no guarantee that the IEP will prove to be effective or sufficient. Your child might not be able to cooperate as hoped, one or more of the education team might be out of sync with the rest of the team, or most likely your child may need more than the school is even able to provide.

Complicating matters can be the law of unintended consequences. In this case, the prevailing philosophy dictates that schools try to place children in “the least restrictive environment”. This can be a double-edged sword to the extent that children can and do benefit developmentally, socially and emotionally from being mainstreamed but with only 20% “pull out services” some students need may be more profound. It is notable that an ever-increasing percentage of children on the autism spectrum are placed in the general education setting at least 80% of the school day.

Oftentimes this level of service is insufficient and supplemental services are required. It is not uncommon for an autistic child to need the help of private therapists, tutors and or private extracurricular activities to supplement the help that they get in schools. This level of care can simply be out of financial reach for many families, even with insurance. Supplemental Security Income can provide resources to help give an autistic child a fighting chance.

For additional information related to learning disabilities consider,

For tips on MS and Social Security read our blog post here.