Why English Literacy Should Not Be Considered in Federal Disability Programs

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Rather than considering individuals who are unable to communicate in English as disabled, federal policy should be promoting work and English proficiency. While the workforce has become more linguistically diverse and less dependent on English, there are still benefits to learning the English language.

In 2019, the Trump administration proposed revisions to current regulations to close this loophole. Under this proposed rule change, roughly 10,500 individuals applying for disability benefits each year will be shifted away from a lifetime of dependency and moved toward work and self-sufficiency. With more than seven million open jobs, employers are desperate to find workers. Keeping more of these adults in the workforce could help ease labor shortages.

As a result of this policy change, taxpayers are expected to save nearly $5.4 billion in SSDI and SSI payments over the next decade. These savings will ultimately help strengthen Social Security and preserve resources for the truly needy.