New Rule to Update the SSA’s Procedures for Awarding Disability Benefits

SSA Disability Benefits Lawyer, hand on a wheelchair
Mar 23, 2020 | Sara Khaki

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides crucial financial assistance to disabled individuals or people who are unable to work due to a disability. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two of the programs that support vulnerable individuals in our country. When a medical condition prevents someone from working, SSDI or SSI can be the financial security they need to make ends meet.

The difference between SSDI and SSI can be confusing. You must qualify for these programs in order to receive disability benefits from the SSA. When you work and earn a living, specific federal taxes are withheld to support the SSDI program. For every quarter you work, you earn one work credit. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have enough work credits.

SSI, on the other hand, is based on needs. If you have a disability and have not earned any work credits, you may still qualify for assistance. Both SSDI and SSI have specific income-restriction qualifications.

Updates to Educational Evaluations

When assessing an SSDI or SSI benefits claim, the SSA looks at many factors, including a person’s education. For decades, a person’s inability to communicate in English was considered an educational deficit. As of April 27, 2020, this policy will change.

Our society has changed, and research shows that an inability to communicate in English does not reflect a person’s level of education or their ability to engage in useful and productive work. Previously, when evaluating a disability claim, there was an education category labeled “the inability to communicate in English.” In April of 2020, this category no longer applies.

The inability to speak and communicate in English was considered something that diminished the ability of non-English speakers to find or engage in work. With the new rule change, the assumption is that speaking English no longer reflects a lack of education that would impact someone’s capacity to find or maintain a job. For more information about the new policy for disability benefits applicants, go to the Social Security Administration’s website.

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