Mental Disorders Rule Update

Woman with documents sitting on the deskOn Monday, September 26, Social Security will publish a final rule to update the criteria we use to evaluate disability claims involving mental disorders. This rule, “Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders,” is the most comprehensive revision to the criteria since 1985.

Upon publishing this final rule, our standards and terminology for evaluating claims involving mental disorders reflect information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition — the mental health profession’s current standard classification of mental disorders.

While updating this rule, the public had questions about our criteria for evaluating intellectual disability. From childhood onward, people with intellectual disabilities experience deficits in intellectual functioning and lack many basic daily practical and social skills. We decided it was critical to ensure these individuals receive necessary assistance as soon as possible. Therefore, we updated the diagnostic and functional criteria for this disorder and are using IQ test score criteria to identify quickly people who may qualify for disability benefits based on an intellectual disability.

Besides reflecting comments from members of the public, the rule reflects the expertise of disability policy experts, adjudicators, psychiatric professionals, and vocational experts.

During the careful, considered process of updating the rule, we’ve engaged with stakeholders, including: disability beneficiaries and their family members; psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health treatment providers; and advocacy groups for those with mental disorders. We also solicited, responded to, and incorporated public comments, and considered an intellectual disability report we commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences.

People with mental disorders are some of the most vulnerable members in our society, and we take our duty to provide them with effective service and support seriously. Publishing this rule is just one way we’re meeting our priority to secure today and tomorrow for millions throughout life’s journey.

You can learn more about the rule here.

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231 thoughts on “Mental Disorders Rule Update

  1. This T.V. DEVICE DAMAGE MY BRAIN.GOV OPERATE DURING VIETNAM.I WISH IT TO BE REMOVED. PEOPLE TOLD NOT TO SAY ANYTHING OR PRETEND; DON,’ T KNOW.ARNOLD (TV PERSON)

    • Veterans sure do know how to scam Social Security. Was the device implanted when you got the immunization shot. It is very easy get that free Social Security disability money for a mental disorder.

      The SSA’s definition of disabled is not strict at all even when it reflects the information in the DSM-V. Mental illness is subjective and based on what the claimant says.

      I got approved without a treating source. It was the SSA’s psychiatrist/psychologist who approved me. The SSA even paid for my CE exam. Now I am getting free Social Security disability money.

      • They might have injected you with the nanotechnology machines designed by the military.

        You can tell the SSA any story and they will believe you and give you the free Social Security disability money.

        • Cloward-Piven agenda pushed by Dems to overwhelm the system with debt to collapse the US economy! Saul Alinsky was mentor to Hillary Clinton, and George Soros loves it!!

        • this is not so I am disabled and it took me 3 years and a trail before I got my disability. Maybe you should check your facts first

          • That’s seems to be the TRUMP I mean American way

            Sad, I would rather die alone on the streets than lie to even get MY MONEY I paid into the “system”
            Yes a system

      • you were lucky i was to i was in a metal hospital for a year and my parents applied for me for SS i knew nothing about it or i even had a check once i was released. i had planed to go back to work and did a year later till i was 45 i feel down one day out side my house on black ice broke my foot it has had 4 operation and may need an other later in my life then I had metal problems come up again, i wanted to go back to work . my Dr wouldn’t let me i lost all most 20 k a year not working , i have sense tried to go back to work it’s not gonna happen so i do things on line to try to make some extra spending money which isn’t much is about all i can do now .I’m now 60 and i know im one of luckier ones with parents who cared enough to take me in and other people in my life time.trust me if i could hold a job id rather do that even at my age .

      • I wish it was so easy 4 the rest of us! For 10 years I’ve battled major depression. As I age, the symptoms get only worse. I worked at 1 place for 17 years, after struggling so hard 4 a year JUST 2 be able 2 get out of bed or even leave the house, I had an experience at work which caused a mental breakdown. Now, I try to not leave my house, if I do my anxiety goes thru the roof n I either have a panic attack or start being a prick 2 innocent ppl. I never want company to be at my house hardly because being around others besides my kids makes me feel intruded upon. My life has been a LIVING H***! So many times I just wanted 2 end it! I’d even went 2 the extreme of asking my ex boyfriend 2 kill me! Having mental illness is like being stuck in ur own prison (kinda like the song by Godsmack), I wouldn’t wish this on anybody in the world! I’m glad u got ur SSDI approved. I’m only now applying, so I hope I can as well. But trust me hun, there isn’t nothing east about getting SSDI. Mental or otherwise. U obviously have severe impairments, so u deserve the benefits. Hope all is well.

        • Depression is the worst disorder a person could have. It is literally torture. What other disability is so insufferable that you would prefer death? Depression robs a person of their will to live. People commit suicide to escape the torture that Depression brings. I believe that Major Depression is the worst disorder a person can endure, and it is also the most ignored and over-looked because people who have never felt it can’t even begin to empathize. The public needs to stop and think, ‘Depression is so torturous, these people would rather die than suffer it. This should give them some clue as to what we suffer, endure, and live with. Depression is the real silent killer. I would give 10 years of my life for just one month without depression. I prefer Quality of life, not quantity. I only live on for my family, my children, my wife. I otherwise would have checked myself out long ago.

          • Cooley, I know exactly what you mean! You explained Major Clinical Depression exactly how it is. I’m so sorry for your depilitating illness! People have no idea how horrible depression is unless they have experienced it. I too have struggled. I really hope you feel better SOON. Keep the faith!

        • I hope you got your SSDI! You certainly deserve it. I can’t believe the jerks here who say you can make up stuff and get it easy… I used to help people apply and it is not easy. I relate to everything you say. I have bipolar disorder 2. I can’t stand people, except for my kids. If I have to I’ll visit extended family at their house, so I can choose when to leave. I can’t have people over. It makes me feel trapped. I can’t leave the house other than when I absolutely have to. The only reason I don’t euthanize myself, is that it would harm my adult children terribly. Even though my pain is unmanageable, suicide is the ultimate selfish act.

        • Your reply baby cry and touch my heart only people that are like us understand what we go through being bipolar and depressed the deepest darkest hole you ever want to be ever could imagine being in no hope no care not taking showers for weeks at a time I would wish that should have nobody so you have my heart touch my heart

      • You’re definitely entitled to your personal opinion ABOUT ANYTHING, regards to SSA & mental health, I AM mental, wasn’t as easy for me to be approved as it was for you & for you to talk all this smack about ssi & ppls with mental health, faking/lying about it or not, flipped a switch, as i call it. Suggestion: do not specify anyone in “general” as doing wrong to get “FREE” ssi. It aint a fun life being f n mental. Now since you researched this ssi stuff, go try researching the whole damn welfare system…thats worse & i have proof….i listened in on a witches story or lie is more like it. Feel free to spend a day walking in my shoes, huh….lol…”a day”??? You wont make it 30 mins.
        Good luck to you

    • I believe you. Stranger things are happening Have happened.Vivsio TV was sued for putting such devices in 11million tv to track what they watch and Govt Army Historcal known for inhumane research just look at KKK and how absurd their ideas and practices and attacks are even into present day with Their grand kids the SkinHeads. I BEKEIVE TGE GOVERNMENT DID SOMETHING TO YOU AND WHO IS GONNA HELP YOU WHY NAVY ARMY MARINE VULNTEERS THEY WIRK VILUNTEER EVERYWHERE and duck society if funds while OVERWHELIMING SOCIETY with crimes when they get back.

    • Same here 100% service connected, unemployable and I lost my SSI disability last week and for the attempt to return to work in 2010 I have to repay 54,000$ I only worked that December and don’t remember making more than a couple thousand at most. American dream ,its definitely a bad dream for most veterans I know.

      • Their is MAEPD program in our state. You can work while on disability. Call your state Department of Human Services and ask to speak to someone who serves disabled people. Also, there should be an Ombudsman for the disabled that should be able to help you. This sounds like someone messed up.

        • Thank You. At last a person with information that may be helpful. I am not mad at anyone, and loved my time in the service. I love our Country and would not pick any place better than under the shade of a nice old oak tree to read your response. But our current system will not provide for that moment of peace in the Vets worlds. Many of our Vet Bennifets program have been contracted out to cost saving state programs. Take Social Socuirty (started paying at age 14) worked and paid every year till USAF DAV service conneted 50%
          PLAN TALK = What the USAF + GOV says 100 %
          when the VA get involed the rating for this item is worth only 50% ……to bad it was my mind —sounds like a bad joke—Top it with this: The SSA will not let me file for my DISIBILITY its past the 10 year cut off date to file. When I sumit the 6″ file of 13 years (now 16) of Brain Scans see white spots /see other test I now score very low TY all under GOV care – contract with fed Help no one thought to call Social Scurity Admin. and tell them about a vet in their paid BAY COUNTY FLORIDA system. I just missed the small print at age 14 saying if you get hurt as a USAF Chaplain Capt. make certain little one -you see the 10 year rule. FOR THE RULE SAID YOU DID NOT APPLY IN TIME!
          NO our judges look at things different!
          Beg, and dont even try to go back to work, over and over. just to fail 100%) I stand by the VA. still a good system. Just a Few treated wrong out of current rules.

      • You can not loose your disability going back 6 years for performing work one December years ago. For one thing they can’t go back that far unless there is fraud or similar fault.
        Exercise your appeal rights in the adverse Notice of Planned Action you received, complaining on this site gets you nowhere.

      • Get an earnings statement from your former employer, showing how much you earned. If you work while receiving disability benefits, you’re required to regularly submit proof of earnings (to SS office), and a portion of what you earn is cut from the following month’s benefits. If you had not reported earnings while receiving disability benefits, you would be required to pay off a portion of what you received in benefits while working.

        • What happened to the law allowing disabled people to earn up to $5000 a year? This adds up to a real disincentive to try to find work if someone gets disability for any reason. You lose an arm, leg, suffer spinal chord injuries and years later a miracle gives you a job for a few weeks and for that the person loses benefits and due to the years he has to repay will never get another social security check. How compassionate! Next I suppose the mentally ill will be required to produce evidence of which demons possess them.

          • Although, the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, we also have special rules that make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules “work incentives“. A person receiving disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and working cannot exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2016, the SGA limit is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you are able to work.
            Please read our publication “Working While Disabled – How We Can Help” for more information.

        • They no longer deduct dollar for dollar from your SSD check if you go over the monthly amount you are allowed to make. If you make 1.00 over then you are not entitled to any of your check, period.

      • You won’t. The rule is prospective in nature and, because you are 58, you are not likely to be reviewed to see if your disability has improved. You can relax.

        • That’s not true , I received a letter from social security 2wks ago that I will be reviewed soon but not now an important 52yrs of age. Also I was reviewed in May 2016 already.

        • Im 57 got ssi now trying ssdi. Doctors on my. Side. Not work little bit when in 6 yrs good records 5 surgery s plus you thing i get it done ok?

        • I’ve been on ssdi since 2002. Was reviewed in 2015. Got a letter in march of 2016 saying that im no longer mentally disabled. Been reviewed numerous times before, no problem. All of sudden they have evidence that im cured. When I asked what evidence they had the 800 call center could not answer. The local office had no answer. My local congresswomen asked. They couldn’t even answer her. Since 2002 I developed COPD diabetes became obese because of meds. Among other health issues. Have avreconsidetation hearing next month.

          • That same thing happened to me. No one can tell me HOW i “got better”! That was in 2008. I was originally put on S.S. disability for Lyme Disease. All this time thats what i thought i had to prove…that I still have Lyme. Years later I found out “the reason” I was placed on S.S. (I was on it for 10 years) they listed Adjustment Disorder, depression, anxiety. Soon after I was originally put on SSDI i was also diagnosed with Narcolepsy (bad) and PTSD. How can they get away with this? If I could talk to someone at S.S. with some authority…. I WOULDN’T still be living with my parents that have supported me 100% since 2008. ….and my 2 kids. Also….i received BILLS from S.S. they called it over payment! They dropped me in 2008 but they put the time back to 2005. ARE THEY KIDDING ME! I filled out some forms saying why I do not owe this money. They approved all but 1. Tami

      • I was 58 when I was told that I was 100% disabled due to a spinal injury. I asked what happens if I find work? Was told not to worry about it and that I could earn as much as I can. They probably knew I wouldn’t be able to earn much. I’m 73 now and slowly remodel houses. I have never been reviewed for anything. Good luck and have the best life you can.

        • I just stumbled across your statement and want to compliment you on your up-beat nature!
          Keep up the positive nature, and continue to pass it-on, so others can be up-lifted by your good words! Congrats!

      • Thank you for your question Marvy. In general, your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. However, the law requires that we conduct medical reviews periodically to see if you are still disabled. We notify you when is time to review your case, and we also keep you informed about your benefit status. You also should be aware that you are responsible for letting us know if your health improves or you go back to work.

          • Unfortunately and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot provide information about your situation. One of our representatives should be able to provide you with an explanation and answer your questions about this matter. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or visit your local Social Security office for further assistance.

      • Don’t worry the last time they did a review on me i was 54 i think it was i was told then that was the last review they may do because of my age and they did them every 7 years then can’t say now . I’m now 60 and had no reviews done sense and when i hit 62 in a year and half i might try the work thing again some things change even more at 62.

    • The new rules are covered in over 230 pages and are designed to assist adjudicators of initial claims. To be taken off of disability you need to have recovered sufficiently so as to be able to return to work. Don’t worry about it.

      • Yeah but if you return you owe all the disability years back, and if it turns out you were able to work during a brief remission and the problem worsens again you don’t get a check till you:ve paid back the 50k you got prior to remission

        • That’s not true i have yet had t pay anything back other then a over payment ss made a mistake on i didn’t fight ,i paid it, it wasn’t much and i was back to work so i could but any checks i received before I went back to work i was never told i had repay but i also did everything by law . even went under a work program to cover things when i did go back to work and may be a year after that my check stopped but i was fine my work income was enough that could live ok off of it .

    • I am not sure how we cannot be concerned about these new rules. It seems every time I turn around they send me papers to have my doctor fill out and I have to talk to a psychiatrist of theirs. The last time I talked to the psychiatrist they had me to meet her at a local community center and it rained really hard that day I mean really hard and she was late. What she had not taken into consideration is that the place had exactly the things that trigger my panic attacks and cause me to become hysterical. Luckily my husband was with me and I felt confidant enough that he would protect me, but when she got there and she saw my state she still insisted we have the meeting, and my husband did tell here that he thought they should look into what is wrong with a person before they tell them where they have to go. I knew I had to stay and I could not leave and go home and that had me so worked up. She did apologize to my husband and within two weeks I got a letter saying they could see that my problem was still bothering me so I was still considered eligible for SSDI payments. I got one of those letters last summer that they were not going to evaluate me. I cannot understand why they send those, they get me all worked up and I am a mess. Just reading this article worries me. I am 59 and hope that soon I get to an age that they will stop this, I do not think I am eligible for Social Security until I am 67 I hope it is not that long. Sorry cannot relax.

      • These are examples of Anxiety and Panic Attacks are out of the fraudsters playbook. The medical evidence is subjective and the psychiatrist/psychologist write down what you say and takes your word for it. The mental disorder diagnosis is base on what you tell them. Fraudsters can read a pamphlet about the mental disorder and make up a bunch of stories. Fraudsters are good at story telling and making up lies.

        The fraudsters would have a better story that her saying they were afraid to leave the house and get a home visit visit for their CE exam by a psychiatrist/psychologist.

        Are you going to do what this person suggest and stop doing CDRs? If you do, I can get free Social Security disability money for life and not have to worry like this person mentioned. I am having those panic attacks too, so the SSA should stop giving me CDRs.

        • That’s true with the fraud thing. However, some people such as myself has been seeing a psychiatrist LONG b4 SSDI was even thought about. So, if we REALLY didn’t need the help, we would have never reached out 2 begin with. Since October, I’ve been self paying 4 my visits and my meds. My visit: $100 a pop, meds: $500 a pop!

      • The medical evidence is subjective and base on what the claimants states. The DSM-5 is a joke. The WHODAS 2.0 tell the claimants to circle what they think their limitations are (none, mild, moderate, severe, extreme). It is no longer up to the psychiatrist/psychologist to determinethe claimaint’s limitations like in the DSM-IV with the GAF scores.

        Since the claimants circle their on limitations and restrictions in the DSM-V, it is not up to the professional’s to do the Whodas 2.0. The Commissioner reserved the rights to determine the claimaint’s RFC.

        • @Tony: I’m curious as what it is you believe makes you more knowledgeable about mental illness, the DSM-V, psychiatry, etc than highly educated, experienced mental health professionals whose expertise draws from 200 years of scientific studies, testing, and work focused solely on the very real disorders of the brain and mind? On what official knowledge, evidence, or authority – other than your own cruel and ignorant opinions – are you basing your
          false assertions about how these decisions are made? What real qualifications do you have that make you think you know more about psychology and psychiatry and mental illness than these thousands of trained, experienced professionals?

          The answer is NONE. For some reason you think mental illness is fake. You sound like one of those who hate disabled people because you think they’re “getting something for nothing” and you’re not.

          Man, you are a perfect example of someone who didn’t make it in life – because they don’t want to exert the effort or do the work successful people do – so instead of taking charge of your situation you blame everyone and anyone else for your miserable existence. And people like you always seem to zero in on a vulnerable or disadvantaged group to unload their hatred and disappointment in themselves on because it’s easier. You’re even too lazy to find something legitimate to gripe about. Its the same laziness that caused your failure in life. You, sir, are a real piece of work.You are in desperate need of intensive therapy badly, and soon.

          • Great comment! Perhaps if this person was trapped inside their mind and was so depressed everyday n just wanted 2 die, maybe they would then understand.

          • I am late to this forum, but you are so right about this tony clown. I think he’s a Scientologist.

        • Don’t you know the SSA is trying to reduce the number of people on SSDI. The SSA has already stopped it’s growth.
          https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/dibStat.html

          The SSA is trying to reduce the number of people with mental disorders with this final rule.

          All they are going to do is weed out the people with less severe mental disorder, but the fraudsters will still continue to be approved.

          The psychiatrist/psychologist and the DSM-V works in favor of the fraudsters.

          • If the SSA doesn’t stop the WHODAS 2.0 in it’s track, then courts might give it some weight like they did the GAF scores. The GAF scores were done by the psychiatrist/psychologist, but the WHODAS 2.0 which replaced the GAF score in the DSM-V is done by the claimants.

          • The fraudsters already are able to circle and check all the boxes on the Adult Function Report.

            Fraudsters like the people who ran Criminal Coffee checked of all the boxes that they had difficultis sitting, standing, reaching, concentrating,getting along with people, etc.

            Now the fraudsters are able to do the same thing with the WHODAS 2.0 and get approved.

          • Here is an example of my WHODAS 2.0. I said that I was severe or extreme in almost all categories. The point scale (1)none,(2)mild, (3)moderate, (4)severe, (5) extreme. There are 36 items. I got a raw score of 149/180. My average score is 4/5 which is severe.

            The WHODAS 2.0 is a joke. The psychologist who administered 2 exams told me that my condition worsened since the last time I saw him because I answered severe and extreme to most of the question. This is what happened to me with the WHODAS 2.0.

    • Hi Chris. In general, your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. However, the law requires that we conduct medical reviews periodically to see if you are still disabled. We will notify you when is time to review your case, and we will continue to keep you informed about your benefit status. You also should be aware that you are responsible for letting us know if your health improves or you go back to work. We hope this helps.

  2. My wife has been diagnosed with dimentia and takes mess for it. She lost her drivers license. Does she qualify for any benefits. ?

    • Hi Arlen. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits as soon as possible after they become disabled. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. Thanks.

  3. My daughter has a diagnosis of Schizo-affective disorder/ bi-polar type. She has been unable to work to support herself for the past five years, from age 28-33. She has been in and out of hospitals, off and on medication, some of which helped and some of which actually harmed her. Although she is capable of doing work, she is not capable of engaging in gainful employment by which she could support herself. She does need assistance, especially now that we, as her parents are of retirement age, but continuing to work to help her. She is in a court appointed supervised out-patient psychiatric program which has been helpful to a certain extent, but she still struggles in her ability to function in all aspects of society, including a work environment. Thank you.

  4. Where do we stand on children with extreme ADHD & ODD? How do we help our schools to understand that sometimes our children can NOT learn in the same ways as others? My grandson can’t memorize multiplication tables. He can read well, but can not transfer what he reads into written form. He is now in 5th grade, but should not be there. “No Child Left Behind,” keeps the school from holding him back.

    • How does a child get diagnosed with ADHD/ADD? I think my son has the same difficulties. It’s very hard to find a doctor for him. His pediatrician gave me a Rx for mood stabilizer. He seems to be doing good at first but falling asleep in class. This summer I didn’t give him his mood stabilizer, and I haven’t given it to him since he started this school year, but I noticed that his attention in school is affecting his school work. He talks to the air. Nothing is there, but it looks like he’s having a conversation with someone who isn’t there at all. He’s smart, but as your son, its difficult for him to transfer in writing. Thank you

  5. Many of the prescription medications that treat Epilepsy have many side effects. Both the Pharmaceutical Companies and the FDA should do some clinical and medical research and not prescribe any medication that causes damage to the liver, kidneys or the heart. Everyone knows that any and all human beings need these three organs to survive. So, perhaps the Social Security Administration will take interest in this issue when it comes to the number of people in the U.S. that use these drugs for mental conditions.

    • Don’t you know the psychiatrist/psychologist and FDA Officials are paid off by the pharmaceutical companies.

      The epilepsy drug to treat mental illness is poison. The clinical and medical research is a bunch of BS. I am prescribed the epilepsy drug, but I throw it in the garbage. I have been prescribed the highest dosage of epilepsy medication for mental illness and telling the psychiatrist that there is no side effect with the medication. I will probably be part of the group of people on the clinical trail. When the FDA approves that drug for mental illness, I fell sorry for the fool that has to take it.

    • These new rules will make it easier for people to get free Social Security disability money. They are similar to the 1984 rules which relaxes the rules for mental disorders and facilitating fraud.

      • Cloward-Piven agenda pushed by Dems to overwhelm the system with debt to collapse the US economy! Saul Alinsky was mentor to Hillary Clinton, and George Soros loves it!!

  6. After chemo and radiation treatment, I have difficulty taking tests as my memory cannot focus and remember material to read and response. In my last job, I couldn’t concentrate on multiple tasks at one time and I was let go. My SS benefit is not enough and need to work part time to make ends meet. When applying to government agencies, they do ask for doctors certificate for special accommodation. It is very difficult to go to all doctors to ask for special accommodation. I have vision issue and when the testing material was on right side of computer screen and I had to type it left side, due to bifocal lenses I had hard time reading the material right side and failed the test, and did not qualify.

    • You are correct. We live in a Republic. We always have. The government simply wants us to believe that we have more rights and liberties than we actually have. I’m shocked that a public school taught me that The United States of America is a Republic. Anyway, I have Multiple Sclerosis, as well as a psychiatric diagnosis. SSDI doesn’t pay much, so I live below the poverty line. Yay America! (Hope you realized that was sarcasm.).

  7. Is this another form of Rip-off from our So So Security system, I smell a rat….
    Pray I am wrong, because they will be messing with
    my PTSD and my SSI check…I am hardly making a go of it now……

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