The Washington Post Federal Eye Blog Writes a Misleading Headline and a Misleading Story About Puerto Ricans Getting Social Security Disability

April 10, 2015


The story makes it appear that there are all these Puerto Rican doctors, nurses, and engineers who are qualifying for Social Security Disability solely because they do not speak English.


I don’t even need to do any investigating or fact gathering to rewrite the story as it should have been written. So here goes. Also a reminder that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, though a territory not a state.



A government audit was conducted of the Social Security Disability program. It was discovered that approximately 300 individuals of Puerto Rican ethnicity over 3 years were approved for benefits. One of the many reasons these individuals qualified for Social Security was because they did not speak English. Under Social Security law this can be a factor in determining whether or not an individual would likely be able to find work. These individuals also suffered from severe physical and/or mental impairments.


Hypothetically, under the current rules some



one with a college or even an advanced degree could qualify based on them not speaking English. Social Security is reviewing the rules to assure that such unwarranted outcomes would actually happen.



Now I am sure if some reporter really looked hard enough he would find some brain surgeon who only spoke Swahili who was collecting Social Security Disability. Relative to the size of the system though, it’s not a widespread problem.



Also, just in case, New Mexico is a state. It is part of the United States. You do not need a passport to go there.

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Damian Leone Esquire
Scranton Wilkes-Barre Northeastern Pennsylvania
Social Security Disability Attorney

(570) 677-3914