Monday, July 18, 2016

When Language Becomes a Barrier

It’s no secret that unpaid medical bills remain a huge headache for hospitals--enough to even force some of them to shut down. And one of the areas where this is exacerbated is when dealing with patients with disabilities. Unlike people with a broken bone or the flu, a disabled person will require much more doctor visits and tests to ensure their recovery.

Luckily, disabled individuals can take advantage of benefits such as social security disability to help pay for their medical care. As it happens, though, not everyone who qualifies for social security disability takes advantage of it. Sometimes the reason is a surprising, and surprisingly common, factor: language barriers.

A Melting Pot

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are about 42.4 million immigrants in the country, representing 13.3% of the population. While most of them learn and speak English fluently, the fact remains that English is not their first language. As such, they may face unique challenges that native speakers may not encounter. For instance, most SSD forms are written in lengthy, complicated English.

Not surprisingly, their ability to accurately fill out forms is hindered, which has a direct effect on whether their application is approved or not. That’s why oftentimes, perfectly qualified and disabled immigrants are denied a privilege they deserve as a naturalized citizen of the country.

A Helping Hand

Fortunately, hospitals can hire eligibility experts to help ensure that patients are properly assisted throughout the SSD application process. Even better, some of these companies have multilingual staff to better assist immigrant applicants for social security disability.

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