Some major amendments are in the works for the related to mental impairments for Social Security Disablity. This should help those going for SSI and SSDI.  This new social security proposal is currently the subject of public comment. Upon a showing that a claimant meets the criteria for the listings, that are included in the federal regulations, a claimant need not show that they are unable to do past work or can do other work in the economy. Typically a social security disability claimant needs to show that they exhibit extreme or “marked” difficulties in terms of concentration, memory, and other areas of mental abilities. However, its less clear how “marked” is exactly defined. This appears to be clarified for the mental retardation regulation: “marked” is the equivalent of functioning we would expect to find on standardized testing with scores that are at least two, but less than three, standard deviations below the mean. … A person whose functioning is two standard deviations below the mean is in approximately the second percentile of the population; that is, about 98 percent of the population functions at a higher level. For a thoughtful analysis of this issue check out this disability blog.
Other proposed changes relate to whether all mental impairments should be included in the Social Security listings that can be found in the DSM. Another positive change would appear the change in terminology from “decompensation” to “deterioration” which appears to make it more clear as to what occurs frequently to those with mental disabilities. Other changes include changing the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability”, ““Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” to “Other Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Childhood or Adolescence.” This proposed listing would still include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but would also include tic disorders, and other mental disorders we do not currently list. We would also add listing 12.11 to cover these disorders in adults. One other positive change is that SSA will give credit to Licensed Social Workers who give therapy and help determine functioning. This is a very positive development since often SSI and SSDI applicants cannot afford or do not otherwise have the means to see psychiatrists or other highly credentialed mental health providers.