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Helping a child with autism transition into adulthood

| Apr 27, 2022 | Firm News

Parents of children with a disability know that their work is not done once their child becomes an adult. For government assistance to continue, they must keep detailed medical records and be prepared to continue satisfying the eligibility and filing deadlines as required by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of their child.

Finding a balance between providing for their disabled child’s needs and offering opportunities for them to engage in gainful employment without triggering an SSA denial can be challenging. Families in Indiana and elsewhere may want to find out more about their legal options so that they have a plan in place when the time is right.

Medicaid, SSI and SSD support for adult children with autism

Adult children with special needs should continue to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if their disability began before the age of 22, and if at least one of the parents is a recipient of disability or retirement benefits or passed away and was eligible for social security benefits.

Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have strict eligibility requirements. For SSI benefits, the adult child must meet the SSA criteria for a disability and have maximum income cap. For disabled adult children who can work, it can be tricky to maintain eligibility status, as the more countable income the recipient has from earned income, gifts from relatives, or deemed income from a parent, the less the SSI benefit will be.

The formula for determining what income does or does not count is quite complex. The following list of income that does not count against SSI benefits is not comprehensive, but offers a view of the complexity of the process:

  • The first $20 of income per month.
  • The first $65 of earnings, plus one half of earning over $65 per month.
  • Small amounts of income received infrequently.
  • Earnings of up to $2040 per month with a cap at $8,230 in a year for students under age 22.
  • Expenses for work-related impairment assistance.

For disabled adult children who are attending college or working toward a level of self-sufficiency, being able to continue to receive benefits and still attain a measure of self-sufficiency can be challenging.

Setting up a guardianship in Indiana

Parents of a disabled child who worry about their adult child’s ability to function as an adult may want to consider guardianship. In Indiana, a guardian is authorized to supervise the care of their ward and to manage their property, assets and finances. While guardianship is not for everyone, it is one way to direct the allocation of income, gifts and other financial support without compromising their child’s eligibility status.