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  5. If I don’t speak English, can I still qualify for Disability Benefits?

If I don’t speak English, can I still qualify for Disability Benefits?

Applying for disability payments through the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a difficult process. If your handicap does not immediately qualify as one of the SSA’s Blue Book criteria, your eligibility will typically be determined in other ways.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation to establish what sorts of job you can realistically perform with your handicap. Additionally, they will include your age, education level, and other criteria that influence the types of work you are capable of performing.

Non-English Speakers’ Disability Benefits

If you’re not capable of speaking, reading, writing, or communicating in English, you may find that you are less qualified to undertake some types of work. Your RFC may find that your impairment precludes you from performing sedentary work, such as in an office or customer service environment. If you do not speak English and have never attended school, or even if you did attend school in your native language, you may be unable to perform any sedentary job.

If you are 45 years old or older, the SSA will accept you for disability payments based on your inability to communicate in English. They will disregard your educational level, as your failure to communicate in English negates your educational attainment. Your age is considered since it may be more difficult for an older person to rapidly acquire a completely new language to the point of successfully finding a new employment while simultaneously coping with the various impacts of their original medical handicap.

Examples of Non-English Speakers

A 55-year-old man who is not fluent in English and has solely worked on construction sites is diagnosed with a degenerative spinal ailment. The guy is not qualified for disability benefits under the SSA’s Blue Book for his spine issue, but his RFC assessment indicates that he may be able to work in a sedentary position. Due to the individual’s inability to talk, read, or write in English, the SSA determines that he cannot be expected to qualify for any sedentary employment and approves his application for disability benefits.

In another instance, a 30-year-old woman who does not speak English and works as a gardener is diagnosed with a skin condition that renders prolonged exposure to the sun harmful for her. The SSA conducts an RFC assessment and determines that the lady remains eligible to undertake sedentary labor. Given the woman’s age and inability to communicate in English, her claim for disability benefits is denied, as she is 30 years old and should reasonably be able to learn English and find a new employment.

It is critical to understand that being unable to communicate in English does not constitute a disability in and of itself. It is merely one aspect that may boost your chances of receiving disability benefits if you are disabled and unable to work as a result of a certain medical condition.