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Does Autism Qualify as a Disability in Regard to Financial Benefits?

Does Autism Qualify as a Disability in Regard to Financial Benefits?

Each child with autism is different, and the impact their condition has on their life will depend on many factors. These will include the severity of their condition, any additional diagnoses, such as a learning disability or a mental health problem, and whether they display any challenging behavior. But does autism qualify as a disability in regard to getting financial benefits?

Getting a Diagnosis

The short answer is yes. While some children with autism need very little extra support, others need care 24 hours a day. That’s why getting a diagnosis is an important first step toward making sure your son or daughter will get the support needed to make the most out of life.

Many parents have mixed feelings about the process of diagnosis, and everyone's experiences will be different. Diagnosis can be a very emotional time, and getting help from family, friends and professionals makes a difference in helping you through the process.

Applying for Financial Benefits

Once you receive a diagnosis for autism, you may be eligible to receive benefits such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). This funding can be used to meet your child’s daily needs and can help pay the expenses associated with the disability. In-Home Supportive Services provide crucial financial benefits for families of children with developmental disabilities.

For some parents, planning ahead for the future is key, while other families prefer to take life a day at a time. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, the key is to work out what works for your son or daughter, and to help them achieve the things they want from life.

Once your son or daughter has received a diagnosis, the next step is to think about the services and support your family will need for the future.

IHSS Financial Benefits

IHSS is a California government program that provides financial support for in-home caretakers of impaired elders, persons with disabilities, and children with developmental disabilities including autism. While a variety of benefits are available, the most important for families of children with special needs is “Protective Supervision.” When you are approved for Protective Supervision, you will receive an hourly wage to stay home and care for your child as an IHSS provider. This wage is exempt from federal income taxes and can make a difference in your family’s life if you lost your job because of COVID-19.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism or another development disability, you may be eligible for Protective Supervision.

How Much Does IHSS Pay in Financial Benefits?

Recent legislation created various options for counties to implement IHSS provider wage and benefit increases. Specifically, recent state minimum wage increases and budget-related legislation adopted in 2017‑18 instituted both temporary and permanent changes to how counties can increase IHSS provider wages and benefits with varying effects on state and county costs.

On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage increased to $13 per hour.

On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.

On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Currently, as an IHSS Protective Supervision provider, the maximum number of hours you can claim is 283 per month. That equates to $3,679 per month today.

Every child with special needs deserves full supervised care, and no family should be turned away. If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.


Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].


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