New Rule Modernizes How We Award Disability Benefits

February 24, 2020 • By

Last Updated: February 24, 2020

Documents on office table with pen and digital tablet as work space business concept

The Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society. A successful disability program must evolve and support making the right decision as early in the process as possible. To help us do that, we must modernize the rules and standards we use to evaluate how we determine disability benefits. We are moving forward with a rule change that has been in the works for a number of years and serves to update a more than 40-year-old policy that made the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits. The new rule is effective April 27, 2020.

We are required to consider education to determine if your medical condition prevents work. In 2015, our Inspector General recommended that we evaluate the appropriateness of this policy. Research now shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of a person’s education level or the ability to engage in work. The new rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

To make the right disability decisions, Social Security disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and evolution of work. We need to update our rules to keep up with society’s changes.

We owe it to the American public to ensure that our disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace. Please share this information with your family and friends.

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About the Author

Commissioner of Social Security Administration (June 17, 2019 - July 9, 2021)


  1. Dominga P.

    I live off Disability.Im paralyzed and I need help with housing I’ve been trying to get into housing with the government and I have not been able to.Why don’t y’all have housing for us disability people?
    I’ve even tried human humanity and St.Joseph nothing for me.

  2. Randy L.

    President Biden should Fire Saul as he is No Friend to people with Disabilitys,,His policy would Kick 100s of thousands of people into the streets of poverty. Fire Him NOW!!!!

  3. Brian O.

    The Social Security Administration throws away my Continuing Disability Review Report constantly. I have a signature receipt from the Lake Mary Social Security office tracking number 9510 8132 5037 0353 4782 40, Dec 21, 2021. I have yet to hear from Marie extension 16052 handling my case. Likely government misbehavior and abuse will result in millions of eligible Americans like me losing their benefits. We the people need to reconsider paying for and authorizing a federal government that neither represents us, nor provides any value.

    • Vonda

      For your security, Brian, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

    • Randy L.

      Right you are..They need to Fire Saul.

  4. Crystal G.

    I have Asperger’s, epilepsy, dyslexia, and thyroid problems and am still in school part time; I cannot afford to be thrown off disability, as I have no other income. I will be in school part time for the next 9 years, then have to study for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Will probably need quadruple time on that one because of the short amount of time and extensive number of questions. And they are not easy questions, so they have to be done out on paper. All my time is devoted to my studies; I do not have time enough left to work enough for the income I need and get the extra study time my disabilities require.

    • Vonda

      Hi Crystal, thank you for using our blog. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for details on continuing disability reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may find our Continuing Disability Review web page helpful in understanding the process. You can call your local office if you still have questions. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal.

  5. Deborah C.

    Does anyone know if this Trump policy is also being used to remove persons from collecting disability compensation with the OWCP/DEPARTMENT of LABOR? I was removed from job because of an injury and I am now being told that I am no longer disabled and they are reducing my compensation to zero.

  6. Linda C.

    I am honored to have this time. I have been Bi-Polar, with all that comes with it–Anxiety, Depression,. Axis V diagnosis. Deferred psychosocial stressor evaluation on axis 1V . PTSD, (from child neglect and abuse). MOM. I suffer Social isolation. Yesterday as I was going thru the Social Security site. I found the most sickening reason why the Gov. doesn’t give aid to “mentally ill” . You CAN NOT look at me and tell I am ill.. I found that statement appalling—But some how I was able to raise my 4 children,. They are wonderful. But I and Bi-Polar, have ruined 2 marriages with having this DISEASE. Things NEED to change for us. Throw the sickening rules out and ask US that know… ask why jails are so full…

  7. ruth m.

    from what I read I understood that there are alot of people on disability because they cant communicate in english.? I know at Wallymart its required that you speak spanish, because you ask someone that works there a question and they respond No english.? I am disabled and have been trying for years even with an attorney going to court and still denied but all the time I have been and I do go to the Dr. I do see a hell of alot of non-american’s getting disability,? what is that all about. Take Care of AMERICANS enough with all these foreigners. no im not prejudice or racist Its just totally unfair.

  8. Ernie C.

    I truly hope Joe Biden does what he says he will do for social security

  9. Sheryl D.

    Do you comissioner realize how many people you will send couch surfing until they end up on the street?

    One has to be rather severely disabled as it is to get on social security. Therefore, I don’t see the need to change the requirements so that more people end up on the street.

    The better action would be to help people who get on disability get better and go back to work.

    Speaking from one who has been on disability three times and each time did not use the system but instead got myself able to return to work and did return to work.

  10. Robert A.

    As Donald Trump smashes our democracy and institutions on his way out the door, it’s critical that we keep the country’s eye on the damage he has done to our Social Security system.

    Already, over 157,000 people have signed our petition calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to fire Trump’s political appointees to the Social Security Administration and rescind their dangerous rule changes, which will result in hundreds of thousands of people getting thrown off of their Social Security benefits.

    • William

      I need my disability. I hope Joe Biden will straighten things out that Trump messed up

    • Carolyn K.

      I will sign a petition to ask the Biden administration to fire Trump SS appointees and to roll back changes to requirements for disability approval made by them. I have two seriously disabled daughters who have been rejected for social security disability within the past four months. One was told that although she had fulfilled requirements for having worked 40 quarters, the quarters had expired six months ago and therefore she was no longer eligible.

      • Michael B.

        This must be stopped I rely on this due to scoliosis hard for me to stand and sit I retired from my job after 40yrs

    • Jed G.

      Link to the petition, please.

    • james

      hurt and mad and disabled am sick of the fight we are sick on a gov that wants all disabled people gone

    • Lisa J.

      I am sick to my stomach reading this. Thinking about all the individuals who may lose their benefits. I am up for a review this next October and I’m going to be feeling anxious for sure if this mess isn’t fixed. It’s all such a joke, to think many of us with full on disabilities can hold a job when we can barely stand up straight all day 😢
      Where can I sign that petition??

    • Wade D.

      Yes, Undo the damage that our last sociopathic president inflicted on the disabled !!! Trump showed the entire country his callous distain for disable Americans when he mocked a disabled reporter for the world see .

    • joseph m.

      Make a rule Donald Trump’s family can’t be president

      • John s.

        Lmao you are a fuckin clown die already old fuck

    • Joanna C.

      I am counting on the Biden administration to correct what the last 4 years has been done to it. I have multiple issues and am waiting for a decision. I am on LTD from my job right now. I hope they can update the requirements to something that works with the physicians to make their determinations.

    • Joanna C.

      Where is the link to the petition

    • Darla S.

      I am unaware of what changes Trump was trying to change within our social security program. Could you please enlighten me or direct me where to go exactly to read about this?
      I’m unsure how to come back to this particular page to look for an answer although I will try because I am very curious! Could you please email me the information?

    • Mildred P.

      I hate propaganda! Tell the truth. Away with the lies!

    • Eden W.

      Let’s just a be hones because we Ned our help?

Comments are closed.