SSDI Rules Regarding Speech Disorders


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SSDI rules regarding speech disorders

Published on September 12th, 2018 by Eric Slepian

Impairment of one’s ability to speak is not the most common claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but it does happen. These impairments can range from stuttering to lisps to the inability speak conversationally or at all. These may result from a complex or hard to diagnose neurological disorder or something more straightforward like hearing loss.

Qualifying for benefits

As with any disability, Social Security relies on analysis of a list of factors. These include:

  • Quality of your medical evidence
  • Effectiveness of treatment options
  • Severity of the symptoms
  • Your chosen profession

If one of these disabilities is the symptom of another illness, medical records should document this as well. Common examples of this would be amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease or a stroke.

The evaluation process

All claims go through a five-step sequential evaluation process, but this will vary to address the specifics of the claim. Regarding loss of speech, the Social Security Administration will often consider:

  1. Substantial gainful employment: Is the claimant earning at what is determined to be a high level? This will vary depending on the impairment.
  2. Severity of the speech loss: This involves medical analysis, daily activity and vocational questionnaires, and evidence of how the disability affects normal function.
  3. Medical impairment listing: Social Security has impairment groups. Speech impairment qualifies under the heading “Special Senses/Speech Disabilities.”
  4. Past work: Does the speech impediment prevent you from performing tasks involved with your previous employment?
  5. Can you do other work: Does this loss of speech or speech impairment prevent you from doing other work? Age, level of education and job experience will factor into this determination.

Legal guidance helps increase the chances of success Speech loss disorders are seldom straightforward and often are linked to other impairments. The qualification process will be similarly complicated. Guidance from an attorney with experience handling Social Security Disability claims will be a tremendous asset in building the best possible case.

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