Raising an autistic child can be expensive. Between dr. appointments, therapy sessions, and other programs you may be wondering what benefits are available to help with these costs. The great news is that there are a number of ways that government organizations can help you.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a cash benefit available for children under 18 through the Social Security Administration. Your child qualifies if they have a physical or mental condition (or both) that meet Social Security’s disability requirements.
For autism, the required level is met when a doctor finds that your child has the following:
- Deficits in reciprocal social interaction
- Deficits in communication and imagination
- A restricted range of activities and interests (this is not needed for Asperger’s syndrome)
In addition, the conditions above must cause serious limitations in at least two of the following:
- Communicative/cognitive functioning
- Social functioning
- Personal functioning
- Sustained concentration, persistence, or pace
Effective January 1, 2018, Georgia’ s Medicaid Program began providing coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services for individuals under age 21.
ASD coverage is provided for assessment and treatment services based on severity and medical necessity. Your child must have a documented DSM-V diagnosis of ASD from a licensed physician or psychologist in order to be eligible.
Help for Adults with Autism
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance to individuals who have a disability that began before age 22. SSDI is paid based on a parent’s Social Security earnings record and is available if:
- One of the parents is receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits
- One of the parents has died and worked for a sufficient amount of time under Social Security
- The disabled adult received “dependent’s benefits” on the parent’s Social Security earnings prior to age 18
Income & Asset Limits
There is a growing number of government financial resources available to adults with autism. However, many of these resources are income dependent, meaning there is a limit to how much an autistic adult can earn and own. This includes any money or assets left to them by parents or grandparents.
This is why we are passionate about making sure families know that even if they have the best intentions for their child/grandchild, they could actually be harming them by leaving an inheritance. If not done properly, an autistic family member will become ineligible for essential government benefits.
Special Needs Trusts
The good news is that a Special Needs Trust can help. By putting your child’s inheritance in a trust, they can enjoy owning assets and still maintain eligibility for government benefits.
Special Needs Trusts are complicated and must be created by an experienced attorney to ensure it works as intended. If you have an autistic child and need help sorting through your options, call our Savannah special needs lawyers today and schedule a consultation: 912-352-3999
We can help you make sure your child’s financial future is secure while maintaining the benefits they need.