The Role Language and Education Play in Social Security Disability Eligibility

by Staff Blogger | April 10th, 2015

Can the inability to speak and write in English qualify individuals for Social Security Disability benefits? Under the law and many recent rulings by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the answer may be yes.

According to an article released by The Washington Free Beacon, the SSA has approved the Social Security Disability applications of hundreds of Puerto Ricans after they claimed they were unable to work because they did not know how to speak English. Under current law, benefits must be awarded to United States citizens who are working within the country and are considered illiterate or cannot speak English.

There are no exceptions to the rule, which led to the approval of 218 claims between 2011-13 by Puerto Ricans who couldn’t speak English, despite Spanish being the native tongue of the region.

The SSA is currently considering making changes to these rules that would prevent Spanish-speaking citizens to receive benefits strictly because they cannot speak English. Until then, the agency has vowed to review the appropriateness of the cases that were approved.

At Ponce Law, we recognize just how complicated the laws surrounding Social Security Disability benefits can be, and our Nashville personal injury lawyers encourage anyone applying for benefits or appealing a denial to speak with a legal professional.