You just received the diagnosis. You haven’t had time to digest yet. (It took me almost a year to fully understand what it means). And now, before you’ve even learned to say autism spectrum disorder, you need to pull up your sleeves and dive into the bureaucracy. So what do you do after receiving an autism diagnosis in Israel? What are the rights of a child diagnosed with autism? How are they recieved?
In this post, I will share tips from my experience with the bureaucratic process. It is similar in many parts to getting other developmental/medical disability benefits. For me, the beginning was very confusing, so I think these tips will help others. I have a lot of experience as a mother of three children with special needs.
So let’s dive into the bureaucracy! Hooray!
Autism Israel Children’s Disability Benefits
Maybe you saw signs of autism early or even in adolesence. You took your child to a developmental diagnosis. You were given documents that say they have ASD.
Let’s start with the goals. There are several reasons to hurry up and submit the paperwork to any place that gives benefits to children with autism:
- Budget. Autism is considered a child disability in Israel. This means National Insurance child disability allowance.
In addition, you are entitled to significant benefits and discounts in a variety of places.
The purpose of these benefits is to allow you to promote the child to independence and successful integration into society.
- Adapted educational framework for your child. There are several options to choose from based on your child’s needs.
( This topic will be covered in an article that needs to be translated.)
- Exhaustion of medical rights such as: refunds from private insurances, and participation of the public HMOs in:
- Medical examinations. ( This topic will be covered in an article that will be translated.)
- Medical treatments
- Para-medical treatments. ( This topic will be covered in an article that will be translated.)
Here’s what to do after receiving a diagnosis. There are several steps and we have some tips.
Order of actions:
- Document organization
- Submitting the documents in order of priority, until the child exhausts all his rights.
Document file organization
To make sure you exhaust all the rights a child with autism deserves in Israel, you need to be organized.
Make sure to have all the documents printed and digital. You can also request another copy of the papers. Put everything where you keep the rest of the child’s medical documents. If you don’t have one yet, this is a great time to purchase a new accordion folder. Scan any document you received in paper, and file on the computer. Name the document clearly according to what the document is and the date.
*The Israel Social Security website has been upgraded a bit in the last decade. Everything can now be done digitally. Just file the documents on the computer/cloud, where they will not be accidentally deleted. It is still better to have physical copies as well.
Make sure you leave the diagnostic institute with all the documents!
Submission of documents
After organizing the documents, it’s bureaucracy time!
Despite all the technological progress, there is no automatic connection between any of the governmental bodies. It’s already 2023 for God’s sake!
This leaves you with a lot of legwork. You must visit each website to fill out forms and send documents. Or arrive physically anywhere with copies of the documents.
For some benefits you might have to physically bring the child to the committees.
The first and most important step is to submit a claim for a disabled child’s benefits. Some of the additional requirements cannot be fulfilled without confirmation that the child’s autism is recognized by the Israel National Insurance Institue.
The good news is that Social Security has developed the digital service. Many things have become a little easier.
Go to the National Insurance website, and follow the instructions. Fill out the claim form for a disabled child’s allowance. Attach all the required documents.
We recommend marking that you want the committee to take place without your presence. At this point it will just delay the process.
How long will you get child’s disability allowance for autism in Israel
*Recognition from National Insurance for a disabled child’s allowance is temporary and according to age and diagnosis. The laws are updated every once in a while. These laws were recently updated and are correct for 2023:
A child who was diagnosed with ASD before the age of 3, will be recognized until age 10. Before this stage you will be asked to submit an updated developmental diagnosis.
After age 3 child’s autism disability allowance in Israel will be until age 18.
Child’s disability is not automatically replaced by a general disability allowance at 18. You will have to submit an updated ASD diagnosis.
What benefits can you get for autism from the National Insurance
Disabled Child’s Allowance
The money, similar to child allowance, goes into the parent’s bank account. An autism diagnosis gives you a 100% allowance equal to about 3294 ISL as of January 2023. If you have at least 2 disabled children each child will receive an additional 50% to the basic allowance. Worth to about 4943 ISL.
Keep in mind that from age 3 you can also claim “dependency allowance“. The National Insurance website has criteria by age and the appropriate type of paperwork. There are different rights for dependency recipients according to the score.
Check the tables to see if it is worth it for you to take the child to such a committee. 5 points will give you a discount on the electricity bill. 8 points and up will give an increased allowance.
Disabled child card
Disabled child card – an official certificate that can be presented to the various bodies (and also discounts at attractions). With autism, the card shows “exempt from queues”. This allows us to shorten the wait in cases where the child is prone to collapse into severe tantrums.
After the age of 12, you also get a card with a waiver from paying for a liaison.
Discounts and tax reductions
Recognition of autism by National Insurance in Israel offers additional benefits. Discounts in various institutions depending on the percentage of disability. You will need to apply for these benefits yourself after gaining recognition:
- property taxes
- electricity bill (at least 112% allowance)
- water bill
- kindergartens and government-supervised daycare centers.
- Eligibility for income tax credits.
- Disabled parking permit. This also grants a significant discount on the car license fee. It should be submitted to the licensing office with medical documents indicating that it is dangerous for the child to be near the road.
Is it mandatory to report autism to the Israel National Insurance?
The answer is no. You can get a therapeutic setting for him (kindergarten), but that’s about it. In fact, you will give up most of the rights that the child deserves. But keep in mind that the older the child gets, the more difficult it is to obtain recognition for him from National Insurance.
Ministry of Education
*Different districts and municipalities work differently. Sometimes the differences are very significant, so this section may be inaccurate.
One of the hardest decisions I made was to take my boys out of regular education. This was my choice after much thought and consultation regarding the two boys. Despite the significant differences in capabilities between them.
When a child is diagnosed with autism in Israel, even if you integrate them into regular education, and you want an integration assistant, you have to go through the MATYA.
This is your second priority after National Insurance. Do not put this task off! Submit immediately upon receiving the diagnosis documents!
The more younger adapted treatment starts, the greater the chance that their condition will improve. Therefore, it is important to be quick and not miss out on this school year.
The “MATYA” (Municipal/Regional Support Center)
Take the diagnosis documents and give a copy – probably on paper – to the MATYA in your region. The MATYA is the body that deals with special education in your area.
To receive a placement in a special education kindergarten or an assistant for the following year, try to apply by March for an Eligibility and Assessment Committee. You might even get a placement during the current school year.
Past March an Exceptions Committee will be required. It’s less likely to get a placement at a communicational kindergarten. At the very least, you want to get some help for the child.
(Special education daycares belong to the Ministry of Welfare, which is covered later)
I know that the thought of the subject is very unpleasant for many of you. But putting a child in a setting that does not suit him is harmful. The child suffers, as well as everyone around him. This includes you and the other parents, the other children, the staff, etc…
Autism Benefits from the Israel HMOs
In the event that the diagnosis is not made at the HMO, and in some cases even if it is, the diagnosis documents need to be forwarded to the HMO’s secretary and your pediatrician in order to exhaust all the benefits that come from the HMO.
Ask the secretary for information about the benefits that your HMO provides to autistic children. It is advisable to get updated every few years.
In general, I sending all medical and developmental paperwork to the pediatrician and the secretary. This way filing will be organized from the beginning and for years. We have had cases where an important document has been lost. By filing at the HMO, the paperwork can be recovered when needed.
This is not a substitute for keeping an organized file for each child at home.
Ministry of Welfare
Welfare registration is not mandatory, however, the registration in the division for the treatment of autism, at the Ministry of Welfare in Israel, has several benefits and not everyone uses them:
- Rehabilitative educational framework before the age of 3. There are several options for rehabilitative daycares. But registeration with the Welfare is required.
- Discount in kindergartens and after-school programs under government supervision – varies and requires the submission of documents.
- It is possible to request a mentor of a certain age or a supporter for parents. To do this, consult your welfare worker.
- If something happened at home and you ended up in a hospital, or if there is suspicion of abuse like what happened to me with my daughter, then there is a record that the child is on the continuum.
Go to the government website, find your regional welfare office, download a registration form and submit.
Welfare and Me
Here is the story. Dolev, my eldest son, was 3 years old and Abigail, my daughter, was one and a half years old. She had just started a new daycare. We were honest and said she had a toddler brother with autism. We also had Nevo, a month-old baby, at home, and I was tired…
One day my daughter came to daycare with bite marks on her arm. I explained to the teacher that I went to the bathroom for a second, and her brother bit her.
Eventually, the biting stopped, but at that time Dolev completely non-verbal. His communication was expressed in violence meaning ‘get away from me’.
Go explain this to a one-and-a-half-year-old girl?!?
The next day he bit her again. That was enough for the daycare administrators to call Welfare. Fortunately, on the week before I was already there to opened a case. I also told the social worker that Dolev bites, and she put this in his case.
This prevented the continuing of this very unpleasant inquiry.
Autism at the Israel Ministry of Transport and Road Safety
After receiving recognition from the National Insurance, you can apply for a disabled parking badge. Up to two vehicles can be registered per child. A disabled parking badge will allow:
- To park in disabled parking (when transporting the child)
- You can ask the municipality to allocate a parking space for you near your house
- A significant discount on the car licensing fee for one of the vehicles.
In order to get a disabled parking badge a child must have a mobility disability or become a road hazard. Since many children with autism have a lack of understanding of dangers, the diagnostic documents can be submitted together with a letter from a doctor stating the risk of the child running into the road.
The request for a disabled parking permit must be submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety.
Our hearts are with you. Receiving any disability diagnosis on paper evokes unpleasant feelings. Somehow, despite the emotional difficulty, we now have to deal with bureaucracy.
It would have been perfect if everything would be much simpler. A child who received a diagnosis should get his parents’ time. They should just be available for him. Treatments, rights, and allowance should just come automatically.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. A lot of work ahead of you.
In this article, we explained what to do immediately after receiving an autism diagnosis in order to exhaust the child’s rights in Israel.
After you have taken care of all the steps I mentioned in the article, you can finally focus on caring for your child.
Take time to learn what is autism and how it manifests specifically in your child. Learn to read the diagnostic reports and their meaning.
You will need to make a choice regarding the educational framework that best suits your child’s needs.
Build a team of professionals to work with your child and guide you as well. Learn how to take care of your child yourself.
The Physiological Aspect of ASD
There are also medical tests that should be done after autism was diagnosed, to rule out hidden medical problems, which sometimes accompany autism.
Don’t take too long before attending to these tests. They could lead to better life quality for your child.
After you have done all the initial steps to exhaust your rights and the medical tests, it is recommended to focus on treating autism.
The conventional methods focus mainly on behavioral interventions to helo an autistic child consistently progress towards independent life, as much as possible.
Meanwhile, clinical data is accumulating on previously unknown physiological factors of autism. These can (hypothetically) be influenced with the help of medical interventions. For instance, cord blood therapy, stem cell therapy or genetically tailored drugs (and more) could help an autistic child improve their ability to learn communication skills.
In conclusion – it takes a whole village to raise a child
If this article was relevant to you, you probably now also need a lot of emotional support. It’s really okay if you feel difficulty with the diagnosis.
I recommend looking for support groups with experienced parents.
We recently opened another Facebook group for autism parenting skills in Israel.
For those who are not active on Facebook, join our silent WhatsApp group, where you will receive notifications about events we organize.
There are many experienced parents in social media groups. Also, you are welcome to contact us of course.
This article represents an initial part of the complex process of learning what you must do to deal with autism in the family. If you feel overwhelmed, it is recommended to contact us to receive parental guidance.
We would be happy to receive comments on the article. Does it have enough information about the process for exhausting autism rights in Israel or is there a need for additional information?
Shira – Mother of four, Registered Nurse, Parent Guide
The Autism Essentials Israel blog is written by Hagai and Shira Reiner, two parents of children with special needs – autism, epilepsy, and more. We focus on the essentials of raising special needs children in Israel, but much of our content will be relevant globally
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