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Asperger syndrome is a developmental brain disorder that falls under the category of autism. People with Asperger syndrome present with similar traits to others who have been placed on the autism spectrum, such as awkwardness in social interactions, preference for a routine, and difficulty understanding other’s perspectives or emotions (See our blog, Social Security Disability Benefits for Those Living with Autism); however unlike others on the spectrum, those with Asperger syndrome also possess average or above average intelligence and have normal cognitive and language development.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, both in and out of school, many children with Asperger syndrome can learn to improve their social skills and lead a functional life. More recently, the media has brought attention to many celebrities who live with Asperger syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates Asperger syndrome under its Listing of Impairments. It can be important whether the applicant meets or has findings which are the equivalent of the criteria outlined in the listing. If this is not established, the applicant must demonstrate an inability to sustain any competitive employment (adult standard), or have symptoms that result in marked limitations in two domains of functioning or an extreme limitation in one domain, such as acquiring and using information, caring for him or herself, and health and physical well-being (childhood standard).
To meet the criteria outlined in the Adult Listing of Impairments, the government must also find that the symptoms result in a marked restriction in at least two of the following, or an extreme limitation in at least one of the following: understand, remember, or apply information; interact with others; concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or adapt and manage oneself.
For a disability case involving Asperger syndrome, the most important evidence in an adult or child claim is that of a psychological or in some cases a neuropsychological evaluation. This assessment will be documented proof of the severity of symptoms and show how those symptoms impact an individual’s ability to relate to and function within the world around them.
Children living with Asperger syndrome often will also have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a written statement to fit the educational program designed to meet the needs of a student whom the school assessed as requiring extra services to meet their educational goals. It is developed by a team of teachers, therapists, school administrators and other support service staff who provide a detailed description of what the school will do to accommodate the student’s needs. These plans will change as the student’s needs evolve.
Both adults and children, including disabled adult children, can qualify for DIB or SSI based on a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. If the child is under age 18, SSI may be payable if the family meets certain financial eligibility criteria. Once the person reaches age18, they may qualify for the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefit if one or more of their parents are deceased, retired or disabled, and worked at a job that withheld Social Security taxes. In that case, a finding must be made that the child became disabled prior to age 22. An adult who has worked and acquired sufficient credits on their own wage record may qualify for DIB or if he/she does not have enough work credits, could qualify for SSI if they meet the financial requirements.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and are seeking assistance with a Social Security Disability or SSI claim, call our Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana disability attorneys at Nash Disability Law today.