Finding Work For Adults With Autism

It’s an understatement to say that raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder is a challenge. Parents may exhaust their savings on intensive treatments to help their children be as highly functioning as possible. As they struggle with the day-to-day realities of a child with special needs, parents often worry what will happen to their children in the decades to come. How will an adult with autism’s social challenges, communication problems and potentially repetitive behaviors find work?An increasing number of parents are asking this question. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing the numbers of people with autism are higher than previously thought. Some research has shown one in 88 children have the disorder. The newest study found that one in 50 do.Some innovative businesses are hiring people with autism for tasks they believe will be well-suited to the disorder. If those with autism are never able to work, federal disability programs such as Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability for adult children may be available.

Companies Focusing On Workers With Autism

Recently, the father and brother of a 21-year-old man with autism opened a car wash that is staffed almost entirely by people with autism. The idea is that people with autism excel at tasks that are repetitive and structured. The backers of the project worked with universities to design a work environment for people with autism. That included defining 46 steps to wash a car.

The car wash claims to be the largest retail store employer of people with autism, and the founders say they would like to expand.

In Denmark, a father whose son has autism founded a company that provides work for high-functioning people with autism. His company assists about 35 people with autism who work for businesses that need repetitive or tedious tasks completed, such as data entry or software testing. The father believes that not only are highly functioning people with autism capable of working, but they are sometimes the best candidates for certain jobs.

Benefits For People With Autism

Not every child with autism will grow into an adult who is capable of working. Parents whose children are severely impaired may especially worry about how their children will support themselves in the decades to come. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers several types of disability benefits.

  • SSI for children: Supplemental Security Income is a disability benefit that is based in part on financial need. SSI is available for children as well as adults. The qualification standards and income limits are different than for regular SSI. Once approved, a child is eligible for benefits until age 18.
  • SSI for adults: After a child with autism turns 18, he or she may be eligible for SSI as an adult. The income limits and the level of impairment required for these benefits are different than SSI for children.
  • SSD for adult children: Social Security Disability is a separate program from SSI. It is an insurance program; employees who become too disabled to have a job may qualify if they have worked for enough years. In some cases, adults with disabilities that started before age 22 can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits using their parents’ work record. The disabled adult must meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of disability for an adult, and the parent must either be receiving SSD benefits or be deceased.

If you are interested in pursuing disability benefits for your child, an experienced Rochester, NY Social Security Disability attorney can provide more information about qualifying for these benefits.