Mental Disorders Rule Update

September 23, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: September 23, 2016

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.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
See Comments

About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. chris d.

    i have been seeing psych drs since i was a child my biological mother hung herself i was adopted sent to a children’s home for 4 yrs then at 16 in a mental hospital was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder depression severe anxiety then drank for self medication for 20+ yrs i got sober 6 years ago and felt like i was going crazy so went to psych dr and was diagnosed bipolar disorder ptsd anxiety borderline personality disorder without them knowing about my diagnosis when i was younger im in treatment on meds applied for ssi and was denied i have never kept a job gone years without working my dr signed me off work going on 3 yrs and still lost my appeal why? never been on my own my best friend hung himself in nov 2018 then in may 2019my 24 yr old daughter died just a few months ago i was in the mental ward cause i just am so depressed and I was just wanting an opinion why i got denied when others fake stuff and get ssi

  2. Ashley T.

    I suffer from clinical depression, PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, I also am a 7time savior of sexual assault and 2 time winner of domestic violence. And was declined SSI how can I get it done correctly because I don’t know how to work. To many trust issues with people

    • A.C.

      Hi, Ashley. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  3. Mehedi

  4. Robert H.

    I am seeking Monthly Financial assistance for My Daughter who is Mentally Deficient She is 58 Years Old and never held a Job of any consequence nor can She – She lives in the Basement of a Lady Friend of Hers with Her two Pets (Dogs) She is a recovered Drug User and I know it damaged Her Thinking and Reasoning ability – She feels like it is ADHD but it is worse than that in My opinion and Others that are aquainted with Her – What Help is Available if Any – She could be close to Suicidal Any recommendations would be really appreciated Thank You Her Dad

  5. blessing

    i have been suffering from HIV over 3 years of my marriage and it was really difficult and heartbreaking for me because the symptoms were very terrible and difficult for me, i search for cure, went to different hospital but still no hope until i saw a testimonies of someone who cure of HIV by Dr pius i took the chance to contact the Dr pius who have the natural cure to HIV, he assure me of his herbal medication which i listen to his advice and i bought his herbal medication and i used it as he instructed by Dr pius, in a month time i went to the hospital for scan and they confirm that there is no trace or sign of HIV in me and now am happy and gladly with my family. contact Dr pius for more information and advice contact him via emailDr.piuscurehom@gmail.com or you can also call him on or whatsapp +2348079746864
    Posted by blessing on May 19, 2019 @ 3:30 am

  6. Genevon H.

    I need an MD to sign a form that I need to send in to the Dept. of Education to apply for Student Loan Forgiveness because I am on SSDI. Can someone get in touch with me please to schedule an appointment?

  7. William

    I was denied disability twice and now it is at the hearing level with the alj. I have a blood disorder that causes chronic DVT which are blood clots pulmonary embolism and other pulmonary and cardiac issues I’m at the point to wear if I get denied by the judge I have no other alternative but to commit suicide I cannot live like this it is going on for years and I cannot do this anymore !!!

  8. Petraffff5@gmail.Com

    How can I have a recreation provider I have no friends

  9. Bobby W.

    i feel realy hopepless now my claim was denied and i have severe mental and physical problems now i feel only option is death

    • V.V.

      Bobby, we are sorry to hear that your application for disability benefits did not go the way you had hoped. Social Security wants to be sure that the decision made about your disability claim is correct. If you were recently denied, you may request an appeal. Generally, you have 60 days after you receive the notice of our decision to ask for any type of appeal. Also, while you are waiting for a decision, you may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area, please visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web site.

      If you need help requesting an appeal, contact your local Social Security office or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Unique

      Have hope !
      My channel may be of assistance to you.

  10. Diane R.

    I have been trying to find out if Narcolepsy & ADHD (same person) is considered a disability? I searched under Part A & Part B but could not locate either. Please advise.

Comments are closed.