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US Government says Puerto Ricans are getting SSI for claiming they don’t speak English

A report published by the US government says that Puerto Ricans, living in Puerto Rican, are receiving SSI (Disability) benefits from the US government by claiming they can not speak English.

Puerto Rico is a Spanish speaking island that is a territory of the United States.

If the US government is giving Puerto Ricans, in Puerto Rico, SSI benefits for not speaking English, we must wonder how many immigrants are living on SSI in the United States!

From United States Social Security Administration…

SSA has applied the medical-vocational guidelines nationally and does not make exceptions for claimants who reside in Puerto Rico where both Spanish and English are the official languages. The guidelines assume individuals who are unable to communicate in English are limited in their ability to find a job in the regional or national economy where English is the predominant language, even though residents of Puerto Rico may be able to find local work with their Spanish-speaking skills.

While the Agency had incomplete management information on claimants allowed using the grid rules related to an inability to communicate in English, we identified 218 cases in Puerto Rico from Fiscal Years 2011 to 2013 where disability determination services used the aforementioned grid rules to grant benefits. Moreover, about 4 percent of the hearings we sampled involved these same grid rules.

SSA is preparing to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the need to update the medical-vocational guidelines. This process should lead to changes in how the Agency considers factors that may affect a claimant’s ability to adjust to other work in the economy. SSA may also want to review other interpretations of the grid rules. For example, a U.S. District Court’s earlier judgment, upheld by a U.S. Court of Appeals, found that, for the most part, it is the ability to communicate in Spanish, not English, that is vocationally important in Puerto Rico.