As your teenager rapidly approaches legal age, this is the time for parents to prepare and apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) once they actually turn 18 years of age. If parents apply prior to 18, your son or daughter will be denied; so you will need to reapply. Children under 18 years of age with autism may be eligible for SSI disability benefits if their family's income and assets are within the limits required by SSI. However, eligibility for the young adult at 18 applying for SSI is based on his or her income; not the family's income. Parents can download the necessary documents needed to present at your appointment with your local Social Security Administration (SSA) case worker. Having autism does not automatically qualify for eligibility. Documentation is very important. Providing a rental contract, food bills, electric, hydro, mortgage and other household bills are all part of the young adult's financial responsibility of living in your home and SSI needs to see this. Once your young adult is found eligible for SSI you may return at a later date to the SSA case worker and request for more assistance based on other further needs of your young adult. Remember that if you use food stamps, whatever your young adult consumes is taken out of his or her monthly income from SSI. Also, it is important to open up a separate account to receive the monthly SSI checks in the name of the Payee Representative (parent) and young adult. Putting the SSI check into your bank account is not advisable. Every year, parents will be called upon by the SSA to disclose full financial accountability with your young adult's monthly check. You will need to show a bank statement to prove that the money is being used to pay the financial obligations of your young adult. If the bank account exceeds $2,000.00, then the SSA will stop SSI benefits and that may take you some time to reinstate. However, in 2014 the Autism Able Act was passed in Congress which allows young adults with autism to have a tax free savings account which is able to exceed the $2,000.00 limitation.
If one parent in the family becomes disabled and qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through their job, then the "adult child" with autism over 18 and before 22 years of age will stop receiving their SSI monthly income. They will then begin to receive, only after meeting the necessary requirements for disability eligibility, SSDI monthly income instead of SSI. SSDI has less restrictive requirements and rules and does not have the $2,000 restriction in the savings account. SSDI is a monthly income amount based on the job earnings of the parent with the disability. Further information can be found here.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation
Description: This website has a number of resources, which include scholarships to social skills camps and information on different types of therapies. It also includes this page which provides tips to successfully receive Social Security Disability Benefits for a child with autism.
Description: An account of practical ways to help plan and manage finances after 18 years of age.
Disability Secrets published by NOLO
Description: State-specific information for your state about approval and denial statistics, appeals, the SSI supplement, and contact information for DDS, ODAR, and vocational rehabilitation services.
Autism Able Act
Description: This Act allows young adults with autism to have a tax free savings account which is able to exceed the $2,000.00 limitation
Facts about Autism and Filing for Disability
Description: This site answers basic questions about applying for Supplemental Security Income and how to prove your disability and win.
Autism Social Security Benefits
Description: Social Security Benefits involves SSI monthly benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid. This site gives practical ways to help, plan and manage these services from the government. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as well as applying for each is highlighted at this website.
Autism After 16: Long Day’s Journey into Financial Light: Public Funding Sources
Description: A well written account of the necessary steps to attain public funding.
Benefits for People with Disabilities
Description: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities.
Successfully Receive Social Security Disability Benefits with Autism
Description: This site gives a comprehensive explanation on how to apply for Social Security and the necessary steps to receiving Social Security Disability Benefits.
Description: Disability Benefits for Disabled Adult Children.
Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.
Forum/Blog Name: Social Security Disability Help
Description: Blog on Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance.
Forum/Blog Name: Exceptional Lives
Description: A blog helping families of children with disabilities gain better access to services and support, including topics like social security.
Forum/Blog Name: Applying for Social Security Benefits for a Child with Autism
Description: This blog walks a parent through the whole procedure for applying for SSI and gives very useful tips and information as well so the parent can avoid making unnecessary mistakes which would deny the process.
Forum/Blog Name: The Autism Helper
Description: This site explains the process for applying for disability benefits for a child with autism. It includes links to the Social Security Administration and a help page for applying for disability.