This blog will be talking about Autistic Spectrum Disorder and what benefits are there for autistic children and adults.
We will also address the issue of claiming PIP for autism, what are the challenges and will give you some recommendations.
What are Autistic Spectrum Disorders?
Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a series of related developmental disorders that begin in childhood and persist throughout adulthood.
The term “spectrum” is used because the symptoms of ASD can vary from child to child, and they can be from mild to severe.
There are three main types of ASD:
- 1. Autistic disorder, sometimes known as ‘classic autism’.
- 2. Asperger syndrome.
- 3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is also known as ‘atypical autism’.
Symptoms of ASD
ASD can cause a broad series of symptoms which are grouped into three comprehensive categories:
- Problems and difficulties with social interaction (lack of understanding and awareness of other people’s emotions and feelings).
- Impaired language and communication skills (delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly).
- Unusual patterns of thought and physical behavior (repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting).
Children with autistic disorder have significant problems with behavior, social interaction, and language.
Many children with autistic disorder will also have learning difficulties and below-average intelligence.
Children with Asperger syndrome have milder symptoms that affect their social interaction and behavior.
Usually, their language development is unaffected and they have above-average intelligence.
One in 200 children is exceptionally skilled, so-called ‘autistic savants’.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
The pervasive developmental disorder can be considered as a “diagnosis of exclusion”. It is used for children who share some, but not all, of the traits of autistic disorder and/or Asperger syndrome.
Is there a cure for Autistic Spectrum Disorder?
At the present moment, there is no cure for Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Nevertheless, there are special education and behavioral programs, often known as interventions, that have proved effective in improving the skills of children with ASD.
The interventions are focused on the following aspects:
- Cognitive skills (encouraging imaginative play)
- Academic skills (reading, writing, and maths)
- Communication skills (the ability to start and participate in conversations)
- Social interaction skills (the ability to recognize and understand other people’s feelings)
Adults living with Autism
Adults living with autism may access a range of autism-specific services, such as social groups that may be available locally.
As each individual is unique, depending on their development adults with autism can be suited to a residential care home, while others may prefer to live on their own and receive home support.
Some adults with autism cannot move out of their family home.
Caring for someone with a disability can be challenging, and parents may need additional support.
We are going to talk about the help that is available, in the following paragraphs.
Applying for PIP for autism
Applying for PIP for autism can be a challenge for someone diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
PIPs are designed to give claimants greater independence through financial control.
But for individuals with autism, the application process can be extremely demanding.
The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as part of a UK-wide reform of the welfare system.
The DWP confirmed that 56% of people with learning difficulties who applied for a reassessment had their award increased. However, the same statistics show that 30% of claims were either stopped or reduced.
Autism is not well understood, and some of the questions in the application form are tricky. PIP for autism is oftentimes listed as an unfair process.
If a person can turn on a microwave, this doesn’t mean that he or she has cooking skills.
People tend to overestimate their own abilities and can’t see themselves as others can.
The PIP for autism can be extremely stressful for autistic adults, as the medical assessment and
the questions they have to answer puts unnecessary pressure on them.
The challenges of the application process
Perhaps the biggest challenge of a PIP for autism is the nature of the disorder.
When supporting individuals on the spectrum who live independently, daily struggles may not be immediately apparent. Here are some examples:
- A person who is articulate, intelligent and may be holding down a job can seem an unlikely candidate for a PIP for autism, but this can be deceptive. The same person can be struggling at home, not remembering when to eat or how to clean the house, pay the bills, etc.
- An applicant who is able to access public transport may not appear to have mobility issues but can struggle due to sensory processing differences.
- A person who was diagnosed later in his life, may not see himself as having a disability.
The success of PIP for autism oftentimes depends on other people, like their family members, carers and social care assistants, as they can see the autistic adult in a way he or she cannot.
Benefits for autistic children
There is a range of benefits available to families with autistic children. This information is for parents with children under 16.
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) can be claimed for children who have additional care needs or difficulty with walking which are caused by their health issues.
Many children on the autism spectrum qualify for this benefit.
Carers Allowance is a benefit that is paid to carers who care for a child who qualifies and has been awarded DLA.
There is a condition however, that the carer must not be earning over £116 per week and must be spending at least 35 hours a week caring.
Someone can apply for Housing Benefit if they are paying rent and have a low income and savings of under £16,000.
Income Support is a means-tested benefit that can be paid to people who have a low income and meet certain criteria.
Carers and lone parents of children aged under five can claim Income Support if their income and savings are low enough.
Benefits for autistic adults
This information is for autistic people aged between 16 and state retirement age, often called c the “working age”.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance was stopped for all “working age” people and was replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
However, if you are aged 65 or over you can stay on DLA as long as you continue to have difficulties and support needs that meet the criteria.
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Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment is a benefit for people with disabilities. PIP for autism can be awarded to people regardless of whether they are working or in education.
To claim PIP you need to complete a claim form.
The PIP form has two components: mobility and daily living. For each component, there is a list of statements known as descriptors.
Each descriptor is worth a certain number of points. Your overall point score determines whether you are entitled to the Mobility and/or Daily Living components.
The score also determines which rate you will receive.
There are three stages in claiming PIP for autism:
- Making a phone call (basic personal details are given).
- Completing the actual form (the form asks about the disability and the difficulties the claimant has and the help that he or she needs).
- Medical assessment (most people are asked to attend an assessment with a health professional).
The decision about your entitlement is made by a decision-maker at the Department for Work and Pensions.
In about 12 weeks since the date of the application, you will receive a formal letter with an answer.
If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to ask them to reconsider it.
When talking about autism in adults, appearances can be deceptive and the application process hard, emotionally speaking.
This is why it’s kindly recommended for an autistic person to receive help from healthcare workers that have experience with both this disorder and PIP claims.
In this blog post, we talked about Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
We highlighted the differences between Autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and “Atypical autism”.
We also addressed the issue of claiming PIP for autism, the challenges, and some recommendations.
If you are the carer for an autistic child, there are a few claims that you can apply for as we mentioned in the article.
The most important and the one that many autistic children qualify for is the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
In regards to adults, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have gradually replaced DLAs. Check our recommendations for the application process.
Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I claim PIP for my autistic child?
You can’t claim PIP for an autistic child, this benefit addresses only to adults aged between 16 and the state age pension.
For a child, you can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which is a benefit paid for children who need additional care or supervision due to their health condition.
Is autism considered a disability?
Autism is not considered a disability, even though it affects a person’s learning abilities, communication, and social skills.
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are often eligible for special education services.
How much is DLA for autistic child UK?
In the United Kingdom, the DLA rate for an autistic child is between £23.20 and £148.85 a week.
The rate depends on the level of help the child needs.
What benefits can I claim for autism?
The benefits that you can claim for an autistic child are: Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and help with Council Tax or Rates, Income Support, and Universal Credit.
A benefit that you can claim for an autistic adult is the PIP benefit if he or she is aged between 16 and stage age pension, or DLA dor autistic adults aged 65 or over.
What is high functioning autism?
High-functioning autism (HFA) is the term used for an autistic person without an intellectual disability.
Individuals with HFA may have some difficulties communicating, recognizing emotions and social interaction.
Is PIP awarded for life?
PIP is not awarded for life, however, there are “ongoing” awards.
A person who is terminally ill gets an award for 3 years. In other cases, you can receive the PIP benefit after a fixed period of time, but your case will have to be reviewed by the DWP and only then a decision is made.
- Living Life with Autism: The World Through My Eyes
- 101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders
- Positive Parenting for Autism: Powerful Strategies to Help Your Child Overcome Challenges and Thrive
- Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
- Hands-on Activities for Children with Autism & Sensory Disorders
- PIP payments and autism – overcoming the challenges
- Personal Independent Payments for adults with autism
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders