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
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
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
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.