Facing Disability Head-On: Long Term Services And Supports For Autism

As autism has claimed one in every four boys and one in every six girls in this generation, parents of these children are looking ahead to their children's future. Without a doubt, parents have every right to be concerned as to the level of independence their children will have. Higher functioning autistics will struggle, but they can live on their own, hold down a job, and learn life skills.

Children on the mid- to lower end of the spectrum cannot live on their own. That is where long-term support services will be needed. Here is more on those services, who supplies them, and how to secure them for your own child.

Long-Term Medicaid Services

The name differs from state to state, but there are long-term care services for children and adolescents with autism. It is important to note that many of these services have an application deadline and criteria to receive services. Some states limit applications for long-term Medicaid services at age 8, with limited exceptions to the rule for older applicants. 

However, if you apply, go through the testing and observation process, and are approved, your state's Medicaid program is billed for all of your child's medical needs for the rest of his/her life. That is peace of mind for you, since you would not want to struggle for ways to support your child and yourself once he/she is an adult. The services include health insurance, job training, life skills coaching, and placement in a supported or sheltered apartment with onsite support staff.

Social Security Disability

If you have not applied for Social Security Disability benefits for your child, now is the time to do it. The approval process is lengthy, but once your child is approved, you can begin to receive monetary support every month to help with your child's special needs. The amount you receive is based on your household income, which means you may not qualify if your income exceeds the Federal Poverty guidelines for this benefit. However, you will not know until you try, and establishing the fact that your child does have a developmental disorder will help him/her later when he/she tries to claim benefits on his/her own.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is your state's contribution to disability benefits. For most families, the amount is not much, but every bit helps. If your child qualifies for SSDI (see above), you automatically receive SSI (based on income) for your child every month.

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