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Does ASD qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that affects communication, social interaction and behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than five million adults in the United States have ASD.

Autism can present challenges when navigating daily life. Many wonder if autism qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has established criteria that disabled individuals must meet. These focus on the severity of impairment and its impact on daily functioning.

List of impairments

The SSA has a list of qualifying impairments, referred to as the “Blue Book.” While autism is not explicitly listed, autistic individuals may still qualify for benefits. However, they must meet the criteria of a similar listed impairment, such as a communication or developmental disorder.


To be eligible, an individual’s autism must impede their ability to function in a social or work-related setting. This can include communication challenges, understanding social cues and engaging in productive activities.

Evidence and documentation

Proper documentation is key when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Medical records, assessments and reports from qualified healthcare professionals can help prove the impact of ASD on daily life.

Residual Functional Capacity assessment

The SSA conducts a Residual Functional Capacity assessment, which evaluates an individual’s ability to perform work tasks. This considers limitations in communication, social interactions and adaptability to changes in routine.

Vocational factors

Besides medical evidence, the SSA considers age, education, work experience and transferable skills. These help determine if the person can engage in gainful activity despite their autism.

Application process

When applying for Social Security Disability applicants must provide detailed and accurate information. This includes medical records, assessments and any relevant documentation.

Autistic individuals can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they meet the specified criteria and aren’t able to function in a work setting.