The new autism numbers and why they matter

Published 4:56 pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

This past week, the Centers for Disease Control released their new data on the prevalence of autism. The numbers are staggering: an estimated 1 in 88 children will have autism. The number for boys is even higher: 1 in 54.

The Arc stands firmly embedded in more than 700 communities and it collectively serves more people with autism than any other organization. In this role, we must involve, engage, understand, and embrace the rising number of families connected to children with autism and provide them access to what we have learned, what we know. The Arc supports families connected to people intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan, including those with autism.

 The countdown to all-electronic social security payments

The Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, started an official “countdown clock” marking less than one year until the March 1, 2013 deadline when all federal benefit recipients must receive their Social Security and other federal benefit payments electronically.

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The move will help taxpayers save $1 billion over 10 years and will greatly decrease the risk of identity and check theft faced by recipients of mailed benefits. Currently, about 90 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being made electronically. The remaining 10 percent have less than a year left to switch over before electronic benefits become mandatory.

This will impact many of the millions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are eligible for and rely on these benefits, their families and those who act as trustees for federal benefit payments.

However, the Treasury Department has attempted to make it easy to set up electronic payments through its “Go Direct” campaign. Free financial education materials are available along with a “Go Direct Money Matters” page at which offers not only information about how to receive electronic payments, but tips for retirement planning, preventing theft and more. Check it out and mark your calendar for March 1, 2013, if you or someone you care about receives federal benefit checks by mail.

 Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc of Mower County and can be reached at You can also visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.