my son has autism what benefits am i entitled to

Discovering that your child has autism can be overwhelming. You might feel a mix of emotions and have many questions about what this means for your family. One of the most pressing concerns is likely to be what support and benefits your family is entitled to. 

Without further ado, here are the programs that you can benefit from as a parent of an autistic child:

my son has autism what benefits am i entitled to

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly government payment through Social Security designed to support people who are aged (65 and older), blind, or disabled. Individuals with autism may be eligible to receive SSI to help support them financially.

For children with autism, SSI provides a federal income source specifically tailored to their needs. It offers a monthly payment of $791. 

To qualify, the child must have “marked and severe functional limitations,” and the family must meet income limits. In most states, a child eligible for SSI will also be eligible for Medicaid, which provides additional healthcare coverage.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is another financial benefit through Social Security that is available for adults who have a disability that began prior to age 22. SSDI can be considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

SSDI provides financial support to individuals who have a work history and have paid into Social Security. It is important to note that SSDI benefits are not based on financial need but rather on the individual’s work history and disability. This program can provide additional financial assistance to families caring for a child with autism.

my son has autism what benefits am i entitled to

Medicaid Assistance

For parents and caregivers of individuals with autism, accessing Medicaid assistance can provide crucial support and resources. Medicaid is a state and federal program that offers health coverage to eligible individuals, including those with disabilities. 

There are two key aspects of Medicaid assistance that you have to consider which are as follows:

Medicaid Waivers

Medicaid Waivers, also known as 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Services, are designed to provide support services and care to individuals with developmental disabilities, allowing them to remain at home or in the community. These waivers vary by state but generally provide coverage for medical treatments, respite care, transportation, in-home support, and more.

To better understand the specific benefits and eligibility criteria for Medicaid waivers, it is important to consult the guidelines and programs available in your state. Each state may have different waiver programs that cater to the unique needs of individuals with autism. 

By utilizing these waivers, families can access essential services to support their loved ones and enhance their quality of life.

ABLE Accounts

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 authorized the establishment of ABLE accounts, which are private tax-advantaged savings accounts for families of individuals with disabilities. These accounts aim to help families save for long-term expenses without affecting their eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

my son has autism what benefits am i entitled to

It is worth noting that each state operates its own ABLE program, and the details and benefits may vary. Families should research the ABLE program specific to their state to understand the contribution limits, investment options, and any additional benefits or limitations associated with these accounts.

Tax Benefits

Apart from medical assistance, you can also take advantage of various tax benefits. This is important when it comes to managing the financial aspects of caring for a child with autism, as it can provide you with much-needed relief. 

Two key tax benefits may be applicable in this situation.

my son has autism what benefits am i entitled to

Tax Deductions

Tax deductions can help reduce the financial burden of caring for children with autism by allowing parents to claim reimbursed medical expenses on their federal income tax return. These deductions can include expenses related to therapy, medication, doctor visits, and specialized equipment.

To qualify for tax deductions, the total medical expenses must exceed a certain threshold. Currently, the threshold for deducting medical expenses is the amount that exceeds 7.5% of the adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, if the AGI is $50,000, medical expenses exceeding $3,750 can be deducted.

It’s important to keep detailed records of all medical expenses throughout the year, including receipts and invoices. These records will be necessary to support the deductions claimed on your tax return. 

Consulting with a tax professional or utilizing tax software can help ensure that deductions are accurately claimed and maximize your potential benefits.

Child and Dependent Care Credit

The child and dependent care credit is another valuable tax benefit that can provide financial assistance to parents and caregivers of children with autism. This credit allows parents to hire someone to care for their child while they work or look for work. Importantly, there is no age limit for the child if they are impaired, making this credit applicable to children with autism.

The child and dependent care credit can provide a credit of up to $3,000 per dependent, with a total credit of $6,000 available. This credit covers various expenses related to child care, including daycare, after-school activities, and day camps. 

It’s important to note that expenses paid to a family member or someone claimed as a dependent on your tax return may not qualify for this credit.

To claim the child and dependent care credit, you will need to provide the necessary information on your tax return, including the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the care provider. Keep in mind that this credit is non-refundable, meaning it can reduce your tax liability but cannot result in a refund if the credit exceeds your tax owed.

Understanding and taking advantage of these abovementioned benefits can significantly ease the burden of caring for a child with autism. Make sure to maximize your benefits so you can allocate more resources toward providing the best possible care for your child.

Sources:

https://www.songbirdcare.com/articles/can-i-get-financial-assistance-for-my-child-with-autism

https://www.swierlaw.com/library/3-programs-every-parent-with-an-autistic-child-should-know.cfm

https://www.autismspeaks.org/financial-autism-support

https://www.americanadvocacygroup.com/can-a-parent-of-a-child-with-autism-be-a-paid-ihss-caregiver

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