Inability To Communicate in English / Disability Claims

May 1, 2019

From the Federal Register:

We propose to eliminate the education category “inability to communicate in English” when we evaluate disability claims for adults under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). Changes in the national workforce since we added this category to our rules in 1978 demonstrate that this education category is no longer a reliable indicator of an individual’s educational attainment or the vocational impact of an individual’s education. The proposed revisions reflect research and data related to English language proficiency, work, and education; expansion of the international reach of our disability programs; and audit findings by our Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The proposed revisions would help us better assess the vocational impact of education in the disability determination process.


I strongly disagree with this proposal.  Difficulty communicating in English makes it extremely difficult to find any type of employment, especially in the face of any other medical problems that might separately impact your ability to work (such as back pain, Parkinson’s disease, MS or cancer).  This proposal is very disheartening.

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