About the Series “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service”
ShineLight was created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. As you can imagine, life with services can dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals with autism, which is why early intervention is key. My name is Nikki Giovanni Creecy and I am the Founder and CEO of ShineLight. I have created a blog series entitled “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service” to help individuals with autism as they navigate life after diagnosis and to provide autism treatment near Wake and throughout North Carolina.
If you have not yet read the introduction to “Autism: Life After Diagnosis – A Road to Service”, I encourage you to do so before proceeding.
This six-part series will cover the following topics:
- Part One: What treatment options are available to your loved one with autism?
- Part Two: How do you qualify for supplemental income? Here, we will discuss the process for being declared disabled in the state of North Carolina as well as applying for social security.
- Part Three: How to qualify and apply for Medicaid in North Carolina.
- Part Four: The difference between behavioral and medical health care and whether Medicaid will cover the services for your loved one.
- Part Five: What are Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services?
- Part Six: What is an Innovations Waiver is, why it is necessary, and how to apply for these services. We will also explore the importance of applying ASAP after the diagnosis due to the high demand and long waitlist associated with services.
A Little Bit About Me | Nikki Giovanni Creecy
I am a local, born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, and I have more than two decades of experience in serving individuals with autism. In 2006, after eight years of working with the Autism Society of North Carolina, my vision and leadership led me to create ShineLight, Services and Support for People with Autism. As Founder and CEO of ShineLight, I am committed to hiring and employing cutting-edge methodologies and uniquely qualified staff to provide the very best residential, community, and employment support for individuals with autism. When I’m not involved in my work, I can be found singing in my church choir, teaching Sunday school, and making music as Nikki Giovanni Worship.
Part Two: How To Qualify and Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Autism in North Carolina
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program funded by the United States Treasury general funds. The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the program, but SSI is not paid for by Social Security taxes. SSI provides financial help in the form of monthly cash payments to disabled children and adults who have limited income and assets.
How Does Social Security Define a Disability in Children?
Before seeking autism treatment near Wake & beyond with the aid of SSI, it is important to first make sure your child meets Social Security’s definition of a disability:
- The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
- The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death. A state agency makes the disability decision. They review the information you give us. They will also ask for information from medical and school sources and other people familiar with the child’s condition(s).
Supplemental Security Income for a Child with Autism | Pre-Application Requirements
If your loved one with autism is under the age of 18, they may be eligible to receive SSI if they meet Social Security’s two criteria:
- The child with ASD must meet Social Security’s definition of disability for children (see above); and
- The household in which they reside has limited resources and income.
Before applying for Supplemental Security Income, you must first complete the Child Disability Report on behalf of your loved one with autism:
- Complete the online Child Disability Report
- This first step generally takes about an hour to complete and will walk you through the process of gathering information about your child’s autism and how it affects their ability to function.
- You will also sign a form that gives the Social Security Administration permission to contact your child’s doctor(s) about their autism diagnosis.
- The Child Disability Report can be completed online here.
- The Child Disability Report can be completed online here.
- After completing the Child Disability Report, the Social Security Administration will contact you within 3-5 business days. During this process, the SSA will work with you to review your Child Disability Report, discuss the household resources and income qualifications, and start the SSI application process.
Supplemental Security Income for an Adults with Autism | Pre-Application Requirements
In order to be eligible for SSI, adults with autism must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least age 65 or be blind or disabled.
- Have limited income and resources.
- Be a citizen or a national of the United States or an alien who meets certain applicable requirements.
- Reside in one of the 50 States, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. There is an exception made for children of military parent(s) assigned to permanent duty anywhere outside of the United States or certain students temporarily abroad.
Other factors that may affect adult SSI Eligibility:
- Marital status.
- Monthly income from work and bank balance.
How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income for Children & Adults with Autism
You must complete the SSA BEST Questionnaire to find the benefits you may be eligible to receive. If you are eligible, at the end of the questionnaire, you will be directed to the agency in order to apply. Begin the SSA BEST Questionnaire here.
Note: If you are applying for SSI on behalf of a child with autism who is under 18 years of age, you must first complete the pre-application requirements as outlined above.
How and When Will I Receive the SSA’s Eligibility Decision?
The SSA will send a letter informing you of their decision on you or your child’s SSI disability claim. In general, these decisions take between three to five months. If approved, you can then begin using your SSI payments for autism treatment near Wake & throughout North Carolina.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to make an appeal. Appeal forms are available for download here. You can also call the SSA’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or contact your local Social Security office to request appeal forms be sent to you.
ShineLight Provides Autism Treatment Near Wake & Beyond
ShineLight was created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. ShineLight serves as a guiding light for individuals and their families by leading the way in residential, employment support services, and community advocacy. Our service areas include: Fayetteville, Wake, Sampson, Scotland, Duplin, Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Bladen Counties. Contact us today.