In the past few decades, autism has been getting a lot more attention, as the number of cases has grown exponentially. Research and related therapies have followed.
While there are more services in place now than in years past to help children with autism and their families, including components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), those attending school will either graduate or age out. For those who are on the severe end of the spectrum and their families, this can raise a host of new challenges. A recent article from Disability Scoop discusses how the U.S. Department of Education needs to start transitioning students earlier than they do now, with a current start at the age of 16.
By transitioning, under IDEA, we mean providing services and training to help these students with autism transition from a school environment to a post-school environment that may involve moving out of the family home, getting a job, and living alone. This training currently starts at 16, but many feel that it should start years earlier to give them a better chance at succeeding in life.
As our Boston disability benefits attorneys can explain, while we often think of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, there is a also a program known as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Whereas SSDI is for adults with a work history that have become disabled and can no longer, SSI is designed to provide benefits to disabled children, seniors and the blind who have never worked.
This is not necessarily to say they have never worked at some point during their lives, but rather they have not earned enough quarterly credits to have paid into the system. Whenever you work and pay taxes, some of the money goes toward the federal disability fund. This money is placed in a reserve, and, if you become disabled, you can apply for benefits under this provision. However, if you have not worked long enough to gain enough quarterly credits, you will be deemed not to have paid into the system and will not be eligible for benefits.
The SSI program does not have this requirement to earn quarterly credits, but there are strict household income guidelines, unlike with the SSDI program, where benefits are not dependent on the income of those living in the household. In some cases, you may be able to apply for both SSDI benefits and SSI benefits, but this can be a complicated process. For this reason, the best thing you can do is to speak with an experienced disability benefits program attorney as early in the process as possible. However, this is not possible in every case, so you should speak with your attorney about the facts of your actual situation.
If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Feds Urged to Improve Transition Services, May 9, 2017, By Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop
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Acting Social Security Administration Commissioner Resigns, Feb. 6, 2017, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog