Getting Social Security Disability for Asperger’s Syndrome can be tricky. Not all adults who have a history of Asperger’s will be considered disabled according to Social Security’s regulations. This is because more often than not, individuals suffering from Asperger’s are able to live and work normal lives, within their limitations. Disability benefits for Asperger’s adults are therefore awarded only to individuals with more severe cases.
The main reason why it is difficult to prove you are disabled based upon a diagnosis of Asperger’s is that the very definition of Asperger’s notes limitations with social interactions and communications, and the requirement of a repetitive or highly structured routine. In terms of Social Security, to be found disabled you must show you are unable to perform any type of work, including even the most basic types of jobs, which include no social interactions and are limited to no changes in the work setting. This is why it is very difficult to be found disabled based upon a diagnosis of Asperger’s. This is not to say that suffering from this condition does not qualify you for benefits, only to say that the condition must be quite severe to qualify.
What Is Asperger’s?
Asperger’s is a developmental disorder most commonly characterized by difficulties in social interactions and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Asperger’s is a type of autism, typically diagnosed in early childhood. A diagnosis of Asperger’s typically requires persistent difficulties in social communication and interactions. This will be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist either through a developed treating history or having undergone a neuropsychological evaluation. The commons symptoms of Asperger’s include problems making friends, isolation, poor eye contact, inability to recognize humor, inappropriate behaviors, problems expressing empathy, lack of common sense, and the preference for a strict schedule or routine. One of the main differences between Asperger’s and autism is with Asperger’s there is no speech delay.
Asperger’s in Adults
Proving to Social Security that you are an adult sufferer of Asperger’s can oftentimes be quite difficult. The reason being is that if you were not diagnosed as a child, you will lack the requisite evidence to show a pattern of behavior at a young age. Also, some adults suffering from this condition do not seek medical attention. The main reason for not seeking medical attention is because not much can be done to treat the condition. People mainly find ways to learn to cope with their condition such as vocational or occupational therapy or living in a highly supportive structured living environment.
If you suffer from Asperger’s and think you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, our best piece of advice is to either start treatment or continue with treatment. Proving a diagnosis of Asperger’s is difficult enough, but you will also need to prove its effect upon you. This is done through medical treatment. If you lack medical treatment, it will be nearly impossible to prove the disabling effects the condition has upon you.
Getting Social Security Disability for Asperger’s Syndrome
To determine if you are disabled, Social Security will consider whether your condition meets or equals a listing for Asperger’s.
Listing 12.08 for Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
The first Social Security listing considered for a diagnosis of Asperger’s is 12.08. This listing requires proof of both of the following criteria:
A Criteria for Listing 12.08
The A criteria require medical documentation of one of the following: distrust and suspiciousness of others; detachment from social relationships; disregard for and violation of the rights of others; instability of interpersonal relationships; excessive emotionality and attention-seeking; feelings of inadequacy; excessive need to be taken care of; preoccupation with perfectionism and orderliness; or recurrent, impulsive, aggressive behavioral outbursts.
B Criteria for Listing 12.08
The B criteria is satisfied by showing extreme limitation of one or marked limitation in two of the following areas: understand, remember, or apply information; interact with others; concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or adapt or manage oneself.
Listing 12.10 for Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
Asperger’s could also be considered under Social Security listing 12.10. This listing again requires both criteria to be met to qualify for disability benefits for Asperger’s adults:
A Criteria for Listing 12.10
The A criteria require medical documentation of qualitative deficits in verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and social interactions; along with significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.
B Criteria for Listing 12.10
Similar to Listing 12.08, the B criteria requires a showing of extreme limitation in one area or marked limitation in two areas (same restrictions as listed under 12.08 for the B category).
Residual Functional Capacity
If your condition does not appear severe enough to meet or qualify for one of Social Security’s listings, the Social Security Administration will then consider what your residual functional capacity is. Again, this is proven through medical evidence documenting your condition and its effect upon you. An individual’s residual functional capacity is the most an individual can do despite their physical and or mental limitations. Social Security will determine what the individual is capable of doing, then they will consider what work the individual has performed in the past fifteen years.
If your residual functional capacity is determined to preclude your ability to perform the work you have done in the past fifteen years, then Social Security will consider whether there is other work available in the national economy. This is done through testimony from a vocational expert, or a job expert. The vocational expert will consider all the jobs in the national economy in conjunction with the limitations given from an individual’s residual functional capacity. If those limitations result in a finding of no jobs, then you will be found disabled.
Whether Social Security finds you disabled based upon one of their listings, or through your residual functional capacity, both require a significant amount of proof to support the disability. A diagnosis of Asperger’s is simply not proof enough for getting Social Security Disability for Asperger’s Syndrome. The reason being, as mentioned above, is that there are varying degrees of Asperger’s condition. And only the more severe conditions will be considered disabling.
Disability Benefits for Asperger’s Adults: Treatment Is Key
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of Asperger’s, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment. This can be through a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or even a primary care provider. Ask your doctor what services are available for individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s. Become involved in vocational training or occupational therapy. Try to obtain a job through a non-profit agency that works with disabled adults. All these steps will be used as evidence to support your disability claim. And finally, seek advice from an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.
At the LaBovick Law Group, we provide free consultations for you to determine whether the disability is the right program for you. Call us today at (561) 623-3681 for your free consultation and be sure to check out our free online Social Security Disability case evaluation tool.