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The Aspergers Syndrome Resource is your information source on Aspergers Syndrome Diagnosis, Training and Counseling, and additional information on others resources and experiences.

Asperger Syndrome Disability Benefits

Can you win social security disability or SSI disability benefits on the basis of Asperger's Syndrome?

Answer: The Social Security Administration's disability evaluation system does not focus on a claimant's diagnosis, but rather on the functional limitations a claimant has. In other words, the name of the condition is not the chief consideration. How the condition "affects and limits" the individual is the primary concern. So, YES, the disability benefits can be won on the basis of nearly any condition provided that the condition is sufficiently limited.

Aspergers Syndrome: To be concidered for Social Security disability

For Social Security Disability purposes, to be considered disabled a person must have an impairment, either medical, psychological, or psychiatric in nature. The disabled person's impairment must also meet the definition of disability which essentially states that the impairment must be severe enough that it keeps the person from working, and earning above a certain amount, for at least twelve months. In detail, what does this really mean, as far as the Social Security Administration is concerned?

First, a person's medical records must indicate the presence of an impairment, or several impairments, either physical or mental in nature.

Second, the impairment must be severe enough that it prevents a disabled individual from working, or, if they continue to work, prevents the person from earning more than $900.00 each month. This amount is referred to by the social security administration as SGA, or substantial gainful activity. It is important to note that this amount is before taxes.

Third, the impairment must last at least twelve calendar months, or be projected to last that long.


Aspergers Syndrome: To be concidered for SSI benifits

A person is considered disabled when: They have a severe impairment that has lasted, or will last, twelve months. They are unable to perform work (work they have done in the past) while earning in excess of $900.00 per month. They are unable to perform other types of work, typically work related to their past work (for example, a car mechanic might be expected to switch to motorcycle engine repair if the job duties are similar enough).

When a Claimant passes this litmus test, they are considered disabled and eligible for Social Security Disability or ssi benefits.

How does Social Security make decisions on disability cases for Asperger Syndrome?

A number of things guide decisions on social security disability and ssi benefit claims, but, ultimately, the approvals & denials made by SSA are based solely on medical evidence. After an application for Social Security Disability or ssi benefits is taken at the social security office and sent to DDS (Disability Determination Services), the first thing the DDS examiner will do with a case is request the medical records. For this reason, then, it is very important to list every medical treatment source on the application, along with phone numbers and addresses. This is true even for doctor's offices and hospitals that have rendered minimal treatment for a patient. In essence, it is impossible for benefits to be awarded on a case without the presence of supporting medical records.

For example, even if a personal physician supplies a statement supporting a case, this statement will hold no no weight whatsoever---without the medical records to substantiate the statement. Additionally, the records obtained by the disability examiner must also include recent treatment (at least within the last two months). Even for a case that represents itself as a "winner", recent evidence must exist to substantiate the claim for disability. If it does not exist, the decision rendered will be a denial. When a Claimant (or a claimant's representative or attorney) does not properly list every treatment source on an disability application or ssd or ssi appeal, the effect can be dramatic. A case can literally be slowed down for weeks or months as a result or, worse, be decided without crucial evidence being reviewed. Typically, this results in a denial. Cases that are properly represented, of course, stand a much better chance of avoiding such scenarios and eventually being won.

What medical evidence is used for a Social Security disability case for Asperger Syndrome?

For a Social Security disability (or ssi) case, medical evidence takes many forms, including physician treatment notes, mental health records, bloodwork panels, and reports of imaging studies (MRI, CAT scan, and XRAY). The records that carry the most weight, however, are those from a personal doctor, or Treating Physician. This is because a Treating Physician will generally know a Claimant's medical condition better than any other source.

Consequently, evidence statements from a Treating Physician can be very helpful to a Social Security Disability or ssi benefit claim and are considered by SSA to be authoritative in nature. However, it should be noted that statements from a personal doctor similar to "patient is completely disabled and unable to work" possess little practical value at any step in the evaluation process. In fact, such evidence is typically disregarded by a disability Examiner and hardly helps when presented to an Administrative Law Judge at the hearing level. To provide assistance and help on a Social Security Disability or ssi benefit case, a doctor's evidence statement should: Be detailed regarding a patient's symptomology, restriction in range of motion, muscular strength, and the ability to sit, stand, walk, crouch, bend, and reach. Should specify the medical reasons as to why a Claimant is unable to work; that is, the physician should indicate the diagnosis, prognosis, and the functional restrictions that result from a patient's impairment(s), i.e. why the patient is unable to return to work.

Statements written in this manner can have the effect of directing or focusing a judge's attention and can potentially turn even a losing case into a disability case that is a winner. (RFC forms are ideal for this purpose) But please note: A chiropractor's records are not considered evidence by the Social Security Disability program since chiropractors are not medical doctors. However, the XRAYS taken by a chiropractor are admissable as evidence.