May 3, 2014

Fast Track For Non-English Speakers?

     Now the right is making the absurd claim that non-English speakers are "fast-tracked" on to Social Security disability benefits. Yes, there is a minor provision that recognizes the special employment difficulties that handicapped people have if they can't speak English but I've been representing Social Security disability claimants for almost 35 years and I've yet to see a claimant get benefits as a result of this provision.  
     What type of rule is the right proposing -- that impediments to work must be disregarded if they mostly affect people they don't like?


Anonymous said...

A claimants english proficency is taken into consideration in deciding whether a claimant is employable. At least in my experience in ODAR.

Anonymous said...

Just as there are numerous definitions of disability; there are numerous definitions of what it means to be proficient in English:

To pass the writing part of the US citizenship test, you must show the USCIS officer that you have an ability to write one out of three sentences correctly in English.

The President lives in the White House.

Washington is the Father of Our Country.

We elect the President in November.

The capital of the United States is Washington D.C.

There are one hundred Senators in Congress.

The flag is red, white and blue.

The oral exam sample questions:

Question: What color is your shirt?

Answer: My shirt is white (blue, red, green, black, gray, brown).

Question: How old are you?

Answer: I am 35 years old.

Anonymous said...

while I would generally agree it comes into play rarely, I do think this provision largely explains the much higher pay rates in PR where the provision still applies even though the majority of the Island speaks Spanish and SSA requires ALJ's posted there to speak Spanish.

Anonymous said...

“It is difficult to see how someone is a U.S. citizen and incapable of speaking or reading the English language,” Sessions added.

Just wait until he finds out that they don't have to be a citizen!

Anonymous said...

"I do think this provision largely explains the much higher pay rates in PR"

The biggest difference in PR is that there are only Title II claims and no SSI, except for those few cases where the person moved from the mainland. The allowance rate for SSI only claims has always been much lower than Title II

Anonymous said...

Non-English speaking really mainly works for the Grids. It pushes the age back 5 years (e.g. can qualify if 45-49 and illiterate or unable to communicate in English).

Never heard of non-English speakers getting fast-tracked. Does this mean get quicker hearings like dire need? Not sure.

This seems like kind of old news. These provisions have been around for years. And now raising a stick? Seems political on the right.

Anonymous said...

The impetus for Sessions letter is that SSA is trying to suspend an ALJ for sixty days for not obtaining an interpreter for a claimant who spoke and understood English with no problem at the first scheduled hearing where he exercised his right to postpone to find an attorney, but once he found an attorney, he suddenly lost the ability to speak English.