Are Speech Impediments Considered Disabilities?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all are subject to evaluation and must meet certain criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Though most conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or are expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year. Our dedicated Social Security Disability attorneys are here to help and support you during this time.

Speech Disorders and Disability

Certain speech disorders are considered disabling by the SSA and may qualify you for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on the severity of the condition.

For evaluation purposes, the ability to produce speech includes the use of any mechanical or electronic device that improves voice or articulation. Impairments of speech may also be evaluated under the body system for the underlying disorder, such as neurological disorders.

Each potential case is evaluated on an individual basis, but the main point that must be proven to the SSA is that your speech impairment is severe enough to prevent you from doing any gainful activity.

When someone is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, that person has a speech disorder. There are three types of speech disorders with varying symptoms:

  • Articulation Deficiency
    Unintelligible speech by age three, characterized by the child leaving consonants out of the beginning of words by age three, leaving consonants out of the end of words by age four, persistent articulation problems after age seven, and distortion of pronounced sounds.
  • Disfluency
    Involves the repetition of sounds, words, or phrases in children past the age of four, frustration when attempting to communicate, and head jerking while talking. Some children suffering from disfluency blink their eyes more often when speaking and are often embarrassed when trying to communicate.
  • Voice Disorder
    Voice disorders are usually characterized by uneven voice pitch and changes in the softness or loudness of speech (sometimes called “pitch and volume deviation”).

Our Legal Professionals Can Help You Get Benefits

Living with a speech disorder can hinder your chances of advancing in your career or even landing a job in the first place. In addition, children with speech disorders may find it difficult to make friends or progress in their school work. While the SSA considers certain types of speech disorders to be disabling conditions, it’s often difficult for people to get SSD benefits for these conditions.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Social Security Disability attorneys know the impact speech disorders can have on the lives of sufferers and their families. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping people get benefits. If you or someone you love has a speech disorder, contact us by dialing (800) 477-7315. And because we use the No Fee Guarantee®, there’s no risk to you—we only get paid if you get paid.