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Applying for SSDI with Asperger's Syndrome

written by: Lisa Pulsifer • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 8/16/2010

Because Asperger's Syndrome is now officially considered part of the Autism spectrum, it is possible to receive benefits which were previously unavailable. For those with Asperger's, social security may be a viable option.

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    Asperger's Social Security - Overview

    Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disability on the Autism spectrum. Many with this disability have normal or higher cognitive abilities and have no apparent communication impairments. However, the potential lack of social understanding, ritualistic behaviors and obsessive thoughts can cause barriers to independence. Because of this, outside resources might be required in order to provide a person with Asperger's with proper living expenses.

    Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) provides assistance to those whose disability prevents them from being able to provide for their own needs. This may or may not apply to someone with Asperger's. Applying for SSDI is a process that takes time and documentation. It can be completed by a caregiver or parent on behalf of another individual, but should be filled out as if the person with Asperger's is providing the information.

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    Qualifications

    The first step to applying for SSDI is to determine if the individual is eligible for the benefit. This can be determined by using the screening tool located on the Social Security Administration's website. This tool will gather information about what the individual's household income is and what other resources might be available. This will help determine the potential eligibility for social security benefits for the person with Asperger's.

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    Procedures

    Once it is determined that an individual meets the eligibility requirements, he or she may begin the actual application process. This can be done online or over the phone. It will then be forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) who will gather the necessary medical information in order to make a decision. This can take between a month to two years depending on the necessity of requesting more documentation and the volume of applications the DDS has to deal with.

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    Documentation

    Providing the appropriate documentation from the beginning will speed up the application process. Names, phone numbers and addresses of all treatment providers should be given along with a list of all past and current medications. This will allow those viewing the application to locate necessary records and get a complete picture of how the individual's Asperger's syndrome affects them.

    Identification documents, including a birth certificate and social security number should be given. Also tax documents and other financial resources should be provided. Original documents are necessary when applying, and will be sent back within a month. However, as a precaution, copies should be made of all documents and kept in a safe place at home.

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    Asperger's Social Security - Further Information

    In the case of an individual with Asperger's, Social Security Disability Income will be awarded based on the complete picture of how it prevents independence and the ability to hold down a job.

    One resource on how to best to deal with applying for benefits is by talking to people who have already been through the process. Talking to other parents or individuals receiving SSDI can provide a real life account of how the process works and tips for completing the application.

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    References

    www.aspfi.org- Applying for SSI and SSDI Benefits by John Cavanagh

    www.webmd.com- What is Asperger's Syndrome

    www.ssa.gov- Social Security Administration

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