Struggling with a disabling illness or injury can prove to be a life-changing situation. People can experience enormous levels of stress, frustration and fear, whether a condition gets worse over time or comes on suddenly as a result of an accident or other event.
We have often explored the challenges that people with a mental illness or disability face when it comes to securing benefits from programs like Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income. These are crucial resources for people who are unable to work due to a qualifying mental condition or disorder.
It is likely that readers of this blog know someone who has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. While autism in and of itself can result in symptoms that make it difficult for those who have it to function in society, a recent study indicates there are other things these individuals need to be concerned with. The study determined adults living with autism have a greater chance of being diagnosed with certain medical conditions.
Suffering from a mental disability is not always as easy to define as physical disabilities and conditions. Unlike a physical limitation, mental conditions can be difficult to test for, diagnose and treat. But just like physical disabilities, mental disabilities can similarly prevent a person from working and earning a living. Therefore, people who are struggling with these conditions may be eligible to receive assistance in the form of Social Security Disability benefits.
Children with cerebral palsy or epilepsy, or with neurologic or developmental disorders, are often beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income, and many of them are eligible for Medicaid. Yet, while Georgia Medicaid fully covers flu shots for both children and adults at increased risk, far too few children with these conditions are getting vaccinated.
A major statistical review just presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies found that the number of children with disabilities, as reported by their parents, grew by 16 percent between 2002 and 2010 in the U.S. Moreover, the number of children with physical disabilities declined while the number with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities rose. The rise in disabling mental conditions, the researchers believe, may be due to the increasing rate of autism diagnoses.
After a case heralded for its landmark decision, the Social Security Administration will help two men with training and assistance because their mental disabilities prevented them from understanding eligibility rules. Although the men, who receive Social Security Disability benefits for their mental disabilities, reside in another state, the impact of the decision will likely reach to all jurisdictions, including Georgia.
According to a new definition of autism put out by the American Psychiatric Association, it may be more difficult for some with the disorder to be diagnosed. The new criteria could also make it harder for those in Georgia and elsewhere with autism to get Social Security disability benefits. Those with loved ones who have autism are worried about how the new definition will affect their friends and family members.