Having a young adult or other family member with autism can pose serious financial challenges for families. But there are several aid programs that provide financial assistance for young adults with autism and other people with disabilities.
Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income provides monthly payments to support anyone who is at least 65 that is visually impaired or has a disability. Individuals with autism may be able to receive SSI for financial support.
Social Security disability insurance is available for adults who have a disability that began before they were 22. SSDI is considered a child’s benefit because payments are based on the earning record of the recipient’s parents.
For SSDI benefits, the recipient’s parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or they died and worked long enough to qualify for Social Security.
SSDI benefits may be paid to an adult who was disabled when they were 18 and they received dependent’s benefits on their parent’s Social Security benefits before they were 18. Disability determination are based upon the rules governing adults.
SSDI child benefits for adults with disabilities continue as long as the recipient has a disability. A child is eligible for these benefits if they did not work.
Indiana and many other states have Medicaid Waiver program for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. This program is intended to provide support services and care at a recipient’s home or in their community. Recipients do not have to be in an institution, nursing home or hospital.
Services include adult day services, occupational therapy, family and caregiver training, psychological therapy, respite nursing care, transportation, workplace assistance, equipment, and medical equipment. Services can begin when a recipient is five but the wait for benefits can last years.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 allowed the establishment of private tax-advantaged savings accounts. ABLE accounts help with saving for long-term expenses without losing eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other public benefits. After an account is established for a beneficiary, accumulated account contributions are tax deferred and exempt from federal taxes if used for qualified expenses.
An attorney can help determine your child’s options for SSI or SSDI eligibility. Lawyers can also assist you with the application process and pursue your rights in appeals.