Aspergers Syndrome and SSDI[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A wink is a type of gesture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption]
Many adults who had Aspergers Syndrome as a child continue to have developmental issues which make it difficult to socialize and interact with others, negatively impacting their ability to maintain employment, function in the work environment and have thriving relationships.
Symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome
Adults who have Aspergers Syndrome are generally on the mild end of the autistic spectrum but can engage in the following types of behaviors:
- Narrowed and focused view of topics
- Lack of verbal communication
- Awkward body movements or gestures
- Inability to empathize with others
- Inability to read others nonverbal cues
- Monotonous tone or speech
- Poor coordination
It is not unusual for the developmental delays which a child with this condition experienced in childhood to continue into adulthood. Frequently, these individuals suffer from an increased incidence of other mental health disorders such as depression.
Can I get SSDI disability for my Aspergers Syndrome?
The SSA has two methods they use to determine if a claimant is disabled for Aspergers Syndrome: claimants can either meet a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as The Blue Book), or they can prove that their condition is so severe they cannot perform substantial gainful activity (this is done through a medical vocational allowance).
Meeting a Listing for Aspergers Syndrome and qualifying for SSDI
Aspergers Syndrome is evaluated under Listing 12.00 Mental Disorders, Section 12.10 Autistic Disorder and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Under this listing the SSA is specifically looking for qualitative deficits in the following areas:
- Development of social interaction
- Development of verbal and nonverbal communication skills
- Imaginative activity
Additionally, the SSA expects to see a restricted repertoire of activities and interests which can be stereotyped and repetitive. The symptoms listed above must be so severe that they result in at least two of the following: marked restriction of activities of daily living, maintaining social function, maintaining concentration, persistence or pace or repeated episodes of decompensation.
Getting SSDI through a medical vocational allowance
The above listing can be very difficult to understand. Whether or not you think you meet a listing or not, it may be a good idea to talk to a disability lawyer. Most claimants will not meet the listing and must rely on their medical evidence to prove that they cannot work (this process is called a medical vocational allowance).
Basically, the SSA will look at your past work experience and rate the levels of work you have performed in the past and determine if you can work any of your past jobs or retrain for new work based on your age, education, work skills and health condition.
Claimants should be seeing a mental health specialist, getting proper counseling and taking the appropriate medications. Failing to follow your treatment plan may convince the SSA that you could work if you were following the doctors orders. The bottom line is that most claimants who have a mild autistic disorder will have difficulty proving that they cannot perform some type of job with limited interaction with others, especially if they are physically strong and healthy, making it difficult to qualify for SSDI.
- Asperger's and Supplemental Security Income benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)