Speech Disorders and SSA Disability BenefitsSpeech impairments or speech disorders can include any type of speech issue which makes it difficult to communicate with other individuals. The cause of speech disorders varies but can be caused by traumatic brain injuries, strokes, brain tumors, degenerative diseases, and genetic issues.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain injury showing an empty space marked by the arrow were the damage occurred. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption]
Common speech disorders includes stammering (repetition of common words or sounds), lisps, spasmodic dysphonia, selective mutism, dysphasia (inability to produce certain words or sounds), orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD), aphasia (loss to understand the spoken or written language) and slurred speech.
Many of these conditions develop in childhood or may be caused by an accident or brain injury. Early intervention is critical to help young children overcome speech disorders. Effective treatments for some conditions may include counseling, speech therapy (controlled fluency), electronic devises or behavioral therapy.
SSDI or SSI Benefits for Speech Impairments or Speech Disorders
The Social Security Administration has two methods for determining if a claimant is disabled. First, the claimant must prove that their condition is severe, expected to last at least 12 continuous months and does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity.
Next, the SSA will determine if their condition meets a listing on the SSA listing of impairments (a list of conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling), or whether or not the claimant has the ability to continue to work either at their current job, a previous job or retrain for new work.
Winning SSDI or SSI for a speech impairment by meeting a listing
The Social Security Administration has a listing under 2.00 Special Senses and Speech, Section 2.09 Loss of Speech for evaluating speech disorders. This listing states that the claimant must not have the ability to produce speech by any means includes the use of mechanical or electronic devices that improve voice or articulation.
Most commonly the SSA listing of impairments is used to evaluate the inability to speak maybe due to a head trauma or some other disease, but it might be possible to prove another speech impairment severe enough that it meets this listing.
If your speech impairment is due to a stroke, traumatic brain injury or another condition, such as Parkinsons Disease, it is likely that your condition could also be evaluated under the listing for those particular disorders which are outlined under Listing 11.00 Neurological Disorders.
Winning SSI or SSDI Disability for a speech disorder through a medical vocational allowance
Claimants whose condition does not meet or exceed a listing must prove that they do not have the residual functional capacity to work. Younger claimants who are able to perform physical labor may have less ability to prove that a speech disorder completely eliminates their ability to work. Older claimants who have a severe speech disorder and other physical limitations will have an easier time proving that they do not have the residual capacity to retrain for new work.
If you are a younger worker it is likely the SSA will suggest other jobs that can be done with little to no social interaction with other individuals or the need to communicate. To win SSI or SSDI for a speech disorder you must have evidence that your limitations will not allow to perform these jobs.
Additionally, the SSA will expect that you have seen the proper doctors and have exhausted all treatment options to overcome your speech issues.
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