Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) were always designed to provide safety nets for the sick or disabled. Well, that net just got a little more frayed thanks to a new rule that goes into place on April 27.
When a disability application is reviewed, a claimant’s educational status is examined. The goal is to see whether the claimant could find work outside of their current occupation. The more limited someone’s education and ability to be retrained, the less likely they can find another career that can accommodate their condition.
During that educational review, the examiner has long been required to consider the claimant’s ability to speak English, as well. That made sense: Language barriers are a big impediment in several professions, and it’s hard to retrain without a fluid understanding of English. Now, that language barrier is no longer going to be considered — a move that may prevent as many as 10,000 people each year from getting disability benefits.
Conservatives characterized the old rule as an unfair “advantage” that somehow allowed people access to benefits they didn’t deserve. They herald the new rule as one that will “improve the integrity and purpose” of the system. Others, however, have called the new rule a “disgrace.” They say that it ignores important realities and exposes thousands of people to lives of desperation unnecessarily.
Once again, these changes signal just how hard it is becoming to successfully apply for Social Security Disability benefits under modern rules. If you’re disabled and need benefits, find out today how you can improve your odds of approval when you file.