Being the parent of a child with a disability can be a challenge. Depending on the circumstances, those parents take on extra roles that include teacher, advocate, caregiver and financier of medical and special support services. Being the parent of a child with autism can be especially challenging financially because autism is disability that has footing in different service systems that all seem to point the finger at the other one for coverage, if any. That service provider blame game has a unique economic trickledown effect on those families.
According to Reuters, a recent research study reveals that households with children with autism earn almost $18,000 less income than those with standard developing children. Specifically, mothers of autistic children earn an average of 56 percent less income than mothers of children without disabilities, and 35 percent less than mothers of children with other types of health issues.
Additionally, the study found that on average mothers of autistic children work seven fewer hours per week and are six percent more likely to be unemployed than mothers of children without disabilities.
With less household income, Pennsylvania families with autistic children can end up struggling to pay for the medical coverage, support services and special education that their children need. Applying for Social Security disability benefits is one step that can help alleviate some of that financial stress.
Source: Reuters, "Moms of autistic children work less, earn less," Frederik Joelving, March 19, 2012