Literacy & English Proficiency Can Affect Social Security Disability Claims
When Social Security evaluates a request for disability benefits, in addition to physical and mental impairments, they also consider certain “vocational criteria,” including the person’s age, education, and work experience. However, there is another little-known factor to be considered – the claimant’s literacy level and English proficiency. This factor is especially important in California, due to its large population of workers who primarily speak Spanish or another foreign language.
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, disabled workers must be unable to perform the work that they did before; they must show that they cannot adjust to other work because of their medical condition(s); and the disability must have persisted (or is expected to persist) for a minimum of one year, or result in death.
Assessing Whether Illiteracy Prevents a Person from Working
For literacy to negatively affect a person’s ability to hold down a job, it must be so limited that the person is unable to read an inventory list, write a simple note, or look up a phone number. Normally, an inquiry would evaluate how long the worker attended school. But the person’s ability to speak, understand, read and write in English is also important to consider. For instance, a person with a limited IQ might be functionally illiterate. An evaluation of past schooling might indicate a special education background, or that the person left school at an early age.
If it is determined the underlying disabling condition is only moderately severe, and not quite sufficient to qualify for benefits, seeking the assistance of an attorney can be extremely helpful. Our attorneys can help to gather records to highlight the workers’ missing vocational skills. A lack of literacy or English proficiency may be what tips the scales in favor of an inability to work.
When Illiteracy Isn’t Apparent in Social Security Disability Cases
Many illiterate individuals become quite adept at developing good coping and compensation skills to hide the fact that they can’t read, write or speak English well. Some have a friend fill out the Social Security application forms for them, so it is not readily apparent that there is a literacy or language barrier issue. There is a lot of shame associated with illiteracy, and therefore, determining the extent of the illiteracy may require more than a few simple questions.
Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help
If you know someone who is applying for Social Security Disability, and a lack of reading, writing or language abilities is contributing to their inability to work, call our experienced attorneys. We are here to help.
Long Beach Social Security Attorneys
If you or a loved one is unable to work due to a disabling injury, medical condition or disease our skilled and experienced attorneys are here to help you get the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.
The Law Office of Cantrell Green is a group of highly qualified and experienced disability attorneys who have obtained millions of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits for thousands of clients in Long Beach, Orange County and the greater Los Angeles. Our lawyers care about every client, and fight tirelessly to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Free Social Security Disability Attorneys Consultation: 800-964-8047
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