Financial Assistance Resources | Autism Speaks (2023)

Financial Assistance Resources | Autism Speaks (1)

People with autism and their families often have a variety of additional expenses required to meet their unique needs. Many are looking for financial assistance.Autism Speaks has compiled a list of different types of resources on this page to help you seek support in your area.

For personalized assistance, contact our Autism Response Team at 888-288-4762 (Spanish 888-772-9050) Our financial access coordinator can provide you with information on accessing disability benefits, understanding insurance coverage, planning for the future and more!

There are many agencies and programs designed to support families affected by autism who are facing hard times and need financial support. Some of these are available to all families who meet financial criteria, while others are specifically designed to support individuals with disabilities. We encourage you to explore all of these different funding sources to determine what your family may qualify for.

Autism Speaks Special Needs Financial Planning Tool Kit
State and Federal Disability Benefits
-Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
-Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
-Medicaid Waiver
-ABLE Accounts
Community and State Financial Assistance
Emergency Assistance
Family Grant Opportunities

Special Needs Financial Planning Tool Kit

Mapping out the financial future of your child can seem like a daunting task, but having a plan in place can help ease your fears. The Autism Speaks Special Needs Financial Planning Tool Kit was created to provide you with all the information that you need to develop that plan.

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The information in the Financial Planning Tool Kit comes from top experts in the field with many years of both personal and professional experience with special needs financial planning. We have also included some personal stories from other parents or caregivers like you.

Learn more and download the Financial Planning Tool Kitfree of charge.

State and Federal Disability Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a monthly government payment through Social Security which is designed to support people who are aged (65 and older), blind, or disabled. Individuals with autism may be eligible to receive SSI to help support them financially.

Information on this and other programs can be found You can also review the following links which further explain the SSI program for children and adults with disabilities, family financial criteria, how to apply, and more.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance is another financial benefit through Social Security. This payment is available for adults who have a disability that began prior to age 22. SSDI can be considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

For a disabled adult to become entitled to this “child” benefit, one of his or her parents:

  • Must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits; or
  • Must have died and have worked enough to qualify for Social Security.

These benefits also are payable to an adult if he or she is disabled at age 18, and if they received dependent’s benefits on a parent’s Social Security earnings record prior to age 18. We make the disability determination using the disability rules for adults. SSDI disabled adult “child” benefits continue as long as the individual remains disabled. Your child doesn’t need to have worked to get these benefits.

For more information on SSI and SSDI, see this booklet calledBenefits for Children with Disabilities.

You can find many more SSDIresources and informationhere.

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Medicaid Waivers

Most states have a program for individuals with developmental disabilities called a Medicaid Waiver (also known as 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services). A Medicaid Waiver is designed to provide support services and care to allow an individual to remain at home or in the community, rather than in an institution, nursing home, or hospital. The benefits provided by these waiver programs vary by state, but most generally provide coverage for medical treatments, respite care, transportation, in-home support, and more. In some states, childrendo notneed to meet eligibility criteria for Medicaid in order to qualify for a waiver. However, just like insurance laws, waiver criteria and availability varies from state to state.

You should also note that waivers may have different names in your state. For example, the “Katie Beckett waiver” is one type that is available in a number of states. Others may have names such as “Autism waiver,” “Person Directed Support waiver,” “Developmental Disabilities waiver,” or “Individual and Family Support waiver.”

See the following links to learn more about waivers in your state:

ABLE Accounts

A new type of savings option was made available for families of individuals with disabilities through the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The ABLE Act authorized the establishment of private tax-advantaged savings accounts that can help you save for long-term expenses without sacrificing eligibility for public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

These accounts are modeled after the current 529 education savings plans that help families save for future college costs.Once an account is established for a beneficiary, account contributions will accumulate tax deferred and any earnings will be tax free at the federal level if the money is used for qualified expenses.

Each state is responsible for establishing and operating an ABLE program. As of April 2016, over 40 states have enacted ABLE laws and bills are pending in many other states.For the latest legislative news on ABLE accounts, follow @autismvotes on Twitter. To get involved in advocating in your state, sign uphere.

Community and State Financial Resources

Community Action Agencies

A great place to start if you are looking for financial help is your localCommunity Action Agency. Nearly every community in the U.S. has a Community Action Agency. These are non-profit organizations which receive state and federal funding. They administer many assistance programs for low-income residents, including rental assistance, energy assistance, food and nutrition programs, case management, education and literacy programs, and emergency assistance. Your local Community Action Agency will be able to connect you with various programs and sources of financial assistance that are available in your area.

Please keep in mind that funding is often limited for assistance programs through Community Action Agencies. If possible, apply as early as possible for assistance (such as winter energy programs).

Housing Assistance

TheDepartment of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) can provide you with advice on finding affordable housing. HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country to provide free or low cost advice. For more information, you can call HUD's interactive voice system at:(800) 569-4287.

You can locate your local HUD office onthis page. They can give you information on affordable housing programs, rental assistance, and more.

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There are also a number of programs through the federal government to help families purchase a new home. I have listed some resources below:

Other Places to Search for Financial Assistance

The United Waycan help you connect with many resources and services in your area, and answer many questions about obtaining assistance. Call2-1-1or visit211.orgto learn about some of the options available to you.

NeedHelpPayingBills.comis a website which lists many sources of financial assistance. Scroll down and click on your state to locate additional sources of assistance.

USA.govmaintains information on a variety of government and other assistance. In particular, see the page onGovernment Benefits, Grants, and Loans.

ThePatient Advocate Foundationis also a good place to search for grants and other financial assistance, particularly if someone in your family has a medical condition. You can search for resources based on medical diagnosis.

Emergency Assistance

In a crisis, it is often helpful to go to yourCommunity Action Agency. Staff can connect you with any available resources, financial or otherwise, that are available in your area.

You can also contact your localUnited Wayby calling2-1-1to be connected with many services and resources to help, or

TheSalvation Armycan often assist in emergency situations as well, although funding may be limited. They can provide rental and housing assistance, utility help, food, shelter, and more. You can find your nearest Salvation Army center.

You can also use the following links to locate shelters in your area:


Family Grant Opportunities

Autism Speaks maintains aResource Libraryfor families, which contains a list of Family Grant Opportunities. Each of these grants are designed to help parents pay for a variety of needs related to autism treatment and care. You can visit the website for each listing to learn more about how to apply. Clickhereto see the current list of grants.

There also may be local grant opportunities listed in our onlineResource Guide. Follow the link, then select your state and look under the category “Advocacy, Financial and Legal Resources” to find any available grant programs.

See here for tips on applying for family grants from one of our Autism Response Team coordinators:Tips on Applying for Financial Aid for your Family Member with Autism


Many organizations offer grants and programs to help individuals and families purchase an iPad. Please contact the Autism Response Team for the most up-to-date list of iPad programs: call 888-288-4762 or

For additional information and resources on technology, seeAutism Speaks’ Technology Central page.

Autism Speaks also maintains anAutism Apps databaseto help you locate the best apps for communication and learning. This database includes information on any scientific research that demonstrates an app’s effectiveness.

See this page for additional ideas about how to get an iPad or tablet:How to get an iPad Funded.


Do you get financial help with an autistic child? ›

DLA can provide financial help with the extra care and supervision that a child with autism needs, over and above other children of the same age. This means that proving your child needs more care and support than another child without autism is crucial.

What benefits can my autistic son claim? ›

Benefits you can get Advice & Support for:
  • Disability Living Allowance.
  • Carer's Allowance.
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
  • Housing Benefit and help with Council Tax or Rates.
  • Income Support.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Challenging benefit decisions.
  • More information.
14 Dec 2020

Can I get paid to stay home with my autistic child in New York? ›

A parent can qualify as a full-time paid CDPAP caregiver for a child with disabilities only if the child is 21 and older. Parents of children younger than 21 are not allowed to act as CDPAP caregivers.

What are the 5 disorders on the autism spectrum? ›

There are five major types of autism which include Asperger's syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified.

How much does a child with autism get from SSI? ›

So, how much is a disability check for autism? There isn't a simple answer to this question because every child and their parents will be treated as an individual case, and this will impact how much they receive each month. Currently, the full benefit amount is $841 a month.

Is high functioning autism considered a disability? ›

What is high functioning autism? Autism is a developmental disability. High-functioning autism generally refers to autistic people who have significantly developed language and independent living skills.

Does a child with autism qualify for SSI? ›

A child applying with autism will have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which are for people with disabilities and with very little income. Because children do not work, parents' income will be taken into consideration when applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a child with autism.

What are autistic adults entitled to? ›

If you have an official diagnosis of autism, you are able to seek protection and accommodations in all federally funded programs – employment, housing, community living, etc. – under this law.

Does ADHD qualify for disability tax credit? ›

As we mentioned earlier- yes! ADHD does qualify as a disability, provided that the impairment is severe enough. Many cases of ADHD are mild or moderate in nature.

What is the best state for autism services? ›

We found that Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the most supportive states overall. On the other end of the scale, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Tennessee are the least supportive.
Insurance coverageRanks 19th
Specialist schools17
ABA therapy providers7
Sensory gyms4
19 Apr 2022

What are the benefits of high functioning autism? ›

Higher intelligence: Many people with HFA are really smart and have a great memory along with a strong vocabulary and ability to think visually. This helps them to think outside the box and be creative problem solvers. Honest and accepting: They'll be honest and tell you the truth. Those with HFA see through pretense.

Can I get paid to take care of my disabled child in NYS? ›

CDPAP, or the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, is a New York State Medicaid program that allows beneficiaries to hire their family members and friends for caregiving services. You read that right, with CDPAP your family members can get paid to take care of you.

What is the root cause of autism? ›

Studies suggest that ASD could be a result of disruptions in normal brain growth very early in development. These disruptions may be the result of defects in genes that control brain development and regulate how brain cells communicate with each other. Autism is more common in children born prematurely.

Does autism come from the mother or father? ›

The team found that mothers passed only half of their structural variants on to their autistic children—a frequency that would be expected by chance alone—suggesting that variants inherited from mothers were not associated with autism. But surprisingly, fathers did pass on substantially more than 50% of their variants.

How does mild autism look like? ›

Characteristics of Mild Autism

Repetitive or fixated behaviors, interests, or activities: Autistic people often repeat movements or words as a way to self-regulate, a behavior often referred to as “stimming.” They may also adhere to specific routines and have specific and intense interests.

What can I spend my child's SSI money on? ›

SSI can cover the child's share of household expenses for basic needs like food, rent or mortgage, and utilities. These benefits also can pay for clothing, school supplies, and other necessities. In most states, children who are eligible for SSI will also be eligible for Medicaid.

How Much Will SSI checks be in 2022? ›

SSI benefits increased in 2022 because there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021. Effective January 1, 2022 the Federal benefit rate is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple.

Can a child with ADHD get SSI? ›

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, or ADD, he or she can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits if the severity of the child's ADHD meets the Social Security Administration's childhood impairment listing for neurodevelopmental disorders (listing 112.11).

What is mild autism called? ›

Mild autism is also called high-functioning autism (HFA), Asperger's syndrome, or described as "being on the lower end of the spectrum." This article will explain why the term mild autism is used and how the definition has changed over time.

What is a high functioning autistic person like? ›

“High-functioning autism” isn't an official medical term or diagnosis. It's an informal one some people use when they talk about people with an autism spectrum disorder who can speak, read, write, and handle basic life skills like eating and getting dressed. They can live independently.

What is the max SSI payment per month? ›

SSI amounts for 2023

The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2023 are $914 for an eligible individual, $1,371 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $458 for an essential person.

How much does a child get for survivor benefits? ›

Within a family, a child can receive up to half of the parent's full retirement or disability benefits. If a child receives survivors benefits, they can get up to 75% of the deceased parent's basic Social Security benefit.

How do I apply for SSI for my child with ADHD? ›

You can apply for benefits by calling our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or by visiting your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to apply.

Where is the best place to live for autism? ›

Best States for Raising a Child with Autism:

Colorado. Massachusetts. New Jersey. Connecticut.

How do autistic adults deal with anger? ›

Anger management Advice & Support for:
  1. Communicate clearly.
  2. Provide structure.
  3. Help to identify emotions.
  4. Offer a safe space or 'time out'
  5. Offer an alternative.
  6. Find out if the person is being bullied.
  7. Useful resources.
14 Aug 2020

Can autistic adults live on their own? ›

Can a person with autism spectrum disorder live an independent adult life? The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence.

Does ADHD and anxiety qualify for disability? ›

If you or a loved one with ADHD meets the triggers as listed by the SSA's impairments under neurological conditions for ADHD or other disorders, you may qualify for SSDI. The SSA updated its listing for anxiety disorders under neurological disorders to include other disorders such as OCD.

Is anxiety a disability? ›

Is Anxiety Considered a Disability? Anxiety disorders, such as OCD, panic disorders, phobias or PTSD are considered a disability and can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Those with anxiety can qualify for disability if they are able to prove their anxiety makes it impossible to work.

Do you get paid for having ADHD? ›

ADHD is recognised as a condition which qualifies for disability benefits and funding.

Where do autistic adults live? ›

Many adults with autism live at home or with a friend or family member. When additional support is needed, in-home services may include a companion, homemaking/housekeeping, therapy and other health services, or personal care.

Can a child overcome autism? ›

Treatment for Children With Autism

There is no cure for autism, but early intervention using skills-training and behavior modification can yield excellent results. This type of educational and behavioral treatment tackles autism symptoms -- impaired social interaction, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors.

What skills do autistic people have? ›

Everyone is different, but some common autistic strengths are:
  • attention to detail.
  • visual perception.
  • creative and artistic talents.
  • mathematical and technical abilities.
  • interests or expertise in 'niche' areas.
  • character strengths such as honesty and loyalty.
7 Oct 2019

How do autistic people think? ›

Autistic people may act in a different way to other people

find it hard to understand how other people think or feel. find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable. get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events. take longer to understand information.

Do autistic people have empathy? ›

Every person living with autism is unique; some may struggle with empathy while others may feel completely overwhelmed by other people's feelings, and then there is everyone in between. It seems that autistic expression of empathy may be atypical.

How much does a family caregiver get paid in NY? ›

Our hourly pay rates range between $13.20 – $19.09 per hour and $19.80 – $28.63 per overtime hour.

Can a family member get paid to be a caregiver in New York? ›

Overview. Yes, New York residents can be paid as family caregivers, but they must meet their program's eligibility requirements. There are several programs available to New York residents that will pay caregivers for providing assistance to their loved ones.

How do I become a caregiver for a family member? ›

Contact your local Family Caregiver Support Program. There are several ways to become a paid caregiver. You can be hired by: A home care agency, adult family home, assisted living facility, or nursing home and be paid by the agency or facility to provide care.

What parts of the body does autism affect? ›

Autism affects parts of the brain that control emotions, communication, and body movements. By the toddler years, some children with ASDs have unusually large heads and brains -- which may be because of problems with brain growth.

Can autism be caused by neglect? ›

Autism Spectrum Disorders are not caused by emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up. Theories such as the "refrigerator mother" have long been discredited.

Can a traumatic birth cause autism? ›

Over the past decade there has been increased scientific evidence showing that perinatal and intranatal trauma are significant risk factors for developing autism.

What increases risk of autism? ›

Advanced parental age at time of conception. Prenatal exposure to air pollution or certain pesticides. Maternal obesity, diabetes, or immune system disorders. Extreme prematurity or very low birth weight.

What are the 3 main symptoms of autism? ›

Main signs of autism

finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling. getting very anxious about social situations. finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own.

Does autism affect sleep? ›

Autistic people can often have trouble sleeping. There are a range of reasons for this including difficulties with relaxing or winding down and irregular melatonin levels. Problems with sleep can be an issue for both autistic adults and children.

How can you tell if someone is on the spectrum? ›

Other Characteristics
  1. Delayed language skills.
  2. Delayed movement skills.
  3. Delayed cognitive or learning skills.
  4. Hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior.
  5. Epilepsy or seizure disorder.
  6. Unusual eating and sleeping habits.
  7. Gastrointestinal issues (for example, constipation)
  8. Unusual mood or emotional reactions.

Can you have autistic traits and not be autistic? ›

Two large studies published in the past two months have found that traits linked to autism are widely distributed in the general population. Although about 1 in 100 children is diagnosed with autism, up to 30 percent of people may have at least one of the traits associated with the disorder.

Can autistic child go to normal school? ›

Autism has a wide spectrum and not every individual with autism can find a place in mainstream schools. However, I have had a few success stories where the right support and timely intervention helped. Several students from my schools were able to successfully complete their education from mainstream schools.

Do autistic people get benefits? ›

Conditions like autism are recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as potentially disabling and may be able to qualify you or your child for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits through one of both of the SSA's disability programs.

Does autism qualify for PIP? ›

Many autistic people have difficulties with daily living skills. Some receive benefits or PIP (Personal Independence Payments) to support them.

Can I claim benefits if my child has Asperger's? ›

Children or adults with Asperger's syndrome may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Children are limited to SSI (Supplemental Security Income). To qualify for benefits, the parent's must meet strict income guidelines and it must be shown that the child has significant impairment in: learning.

Can you claim DLA for autism without a diagnosis? ›

Myth 1: My child needs a diagnosis before I can claim DLA

You can claim DLA so long as it is clear that there is some underlying condition – whether physical, mental or behavioural – as a result of which your child needs extra care or help in getting around. You don't have to wait for the condition to be diagnosed.

What are autistic adults entitled to? ›

If you have an official diagnosis of autism, you are able to seek protection and accommodations in all federally funded programs – employment, housing, community living, etc. – under this law.

Can you drive if you have autism? ›

Yes, it's legal for autistic people to drive. Autistic individuals must pass the same requirements needed to obtain a driver's license in their state as those who are not on the spectrum.

What type of disability is autism? ›

Autism is a neurological developmental disability with an estimated prevalence of one to two percent of the American and worldwide population. The diversity of the disability means that each person's individual experience of autism and needs for supports and services can vary widely.

Can you get PIP for anxiety? ›

You might be able to get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition. You can make a PIP claim whether or not you get help from anyone.

How much do you get for PIP 2022? ›

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit which has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people between 16 and State Pension age.
PIP amounts.
2022/23 ratesStandard weekly rateEnhanced weekly rate
Daily living part£61.85£92.40
Mobility part£24.45£64.50

How much is PIP per week? ›

PIP rates
ComponentWeekly rate
Daily living - standard rate£61.85
Daily living - enhanced rate£92.40
Mobility - standard rate£24.45
Mobility - enhanced rate£64.50

What kind of jobs are good for Aspergers? ›

Computer science is a good choice because it is very likely that many of the best programmers have either Asperger's syndrome or some of its traits. Other good majors are: accounting, engineering, library science, and art with an emphasis on commercial art and drafting.

Do you get money for a child with ADHD? ›

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) helps with the cost of caring for an eligible ADHD child, under 16 years of age, needing extra looking after and having had these difficulties for at least three months.

Can a child with autism be denied SSI? ›

So, can your child with autism be denied Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance? Yes. However, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA): “If your child has one of the qualifying conditions, they may get SSI payments right away.

Can a child get DLA for Anxiety? ›

DLA isn't just for children who are physically disabled. It can be given for a wide range of medical conditions including behavioural and mental health conditions as well as learning disabilities and developmental delay.

How much is DLA for a child with ADHD? ›

You can get between £24.45 and £156.90 a week in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help look after a child who has a disability or health condition. DLA isn't means tested, so how much you earn doesn't impact how much you can get. The money can be spent on anything.

What evidence do you need for DLA? ›

Include supporting evidence with the form if you have it. This can be medical reports, speech and language assessments, psychological reports, and a statement of special educational needs – anything that supports what you've said in the form.


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