Social Security Revises Criteria for Mental Disorders

On September 26, 2016, the Social Security Administration published a final rule, “Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders.” This regulation reflects the most comprehensive revision in over 30 years to the criteria used to evaluate disability claims involving mental disorders.

With the publication of this final rule, standards for evaluating claims involving mental disorders will reflect up-to-date standards and practices used in the mental health community. The rule becomes effective on January 17, 2017.

The rule reflects information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which is the mental health profession’s standard for classifying mental disorders. Criteria for evaluating intellectual disability generated significant public interest. Besides reflecting comments from members of the public, the rule reflects the expertise of disability policy experts, adjudicators, psychiatric professionals, and vocational experts, who provided input at every phase of the rulemaking process.