How An Autistic Child Can Qualify for SSI

Children with autism or those who are on the autism spectrum can qualify for Supplemental Security Income if they meet certain income and symptom requirements. Among them are certain inabilities related to speech, behavior, concentration and more. 

Children with autism and autism spectrum disorders can have an especially difficult time acclimating to everyday life and endure especially difficult disabilities. Parents of these children may be wondering if their child is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to help with ongoing costs related to their care.

In some cases, the good news is that autistic or spectrum children do qualify for SSI, but they need to meet a strict set of standards and circumstances.

How An Autism Disability is Determined Through the SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a comprehensive manual and evaluation process to determine the severity of a child’s disability. In terms of autism, section 112.10 outlines the symptoms that a child must show to qualify:

  1. Qualitative deficits in verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and social interaction; and
  2. Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

 – And –

Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning

  1. Understand, remember, or apply information
  2. Interact with others
  3. Concentrate, persist or maintain pace
  4. Adapt or manage oneself

An application must include significant medical documentation demonstrating these symptoms and understanding how it affects the child’s daily life.

Child Income Requirements

A child may qualify for SSI as long as he/she doesn’t earn more than $1,900 monthly or $7,600 annually. There are a number of additional exceptions that take into account the child’s overall income picture (including parental “deemed income”); the child may qualify for SSI assistance in many low-income situations. If a child does have defined “countable income” (total income – income that the SSA doesn’t count), the SSA will subtract that total from the federal benefit rate to create the final benefit number.



The effects of autism are especially complicated in children, and determining the child’s ability to qualify can be difficult and confusing. If you have questions about your child’s eligibility for assistance, call Schott Law today at (509) 328-5789 to schedule a free consultation.