Non-English speakers may be denied Social Security benefits

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2020 | social security disability

People in Indiana who receive Social Security benefits might be interested in a ruling made by the Trump administration. The new rules could limit non-English speaking residents from accessing necessary benefits.

To claim benefits, applicants are asked to take an assessment. This allows administrators to assess whether an individual has the mental capacity to find work with their medical condition. Past assessments took into account if an applicant spoke English and would adjust the scores accordingly. The new rules, which go into effect in late April, remove this component. This could make it difficult for those who don’t speak English to qualify for help. Democrats expressed frustration with the rule saying that they’re afraid that non-English speaking citizens will have trouble making ends meet without the assistance.

Opponents say that those applying for disability might not have transferable skills or be older workers. Not being able to communicate in English adds additional difficulties in obtaining employment. If administrators aren’t able to take this obstacle into consideration, analysts estimate that 10,000 people may lose their aid. The new rule was suggested in 2015 by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general. It is part of several new proposals by the Trump administration to scale back on anti-poverty programs and medical benefits for low-income families.

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are typically available for employees who are unable to work due to a medical condition. Many workers who pay into the system for many years and face difficulties when applying. The application process can be grueling, but those who are denied benefits have the right to appeal. A lawyer might be able to help by assisting with the appeals process. In this case, a non-English speaking applicant who was denied benefits could potentially appeal the decision. If the committee rules in their favor, the applicant might then be able to collect benefits.