According to a press release today, the Social Security Administration will publish final rules, effective January 17, 2017, that revise medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders. This regulation is a comprehensive revision to the criteria for evaluating disability claims involving mental disorders.

“Updating our medical criteria for the disability program is a challenging task that has been complicated by deep budgetary cuts in recent years,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  “We are committed to updating our regulations to reflect up-to-date standards and practices used in the health care community.”

The final rule is the last step in a careful, deliberative process that engaged relevant stakeholders, including current disability beneficiaries and their family members, mental-health physicians and treatment providers, and advocacy groups for those with mental disorders.  It also reflects information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition, the mental health profession’s current standard classification of mental disorders.  In addition to reflecting comments from members of the public, the rule also reflects an intellectual disability report we commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences, and the expertise of disability policy experts, adjudicators, psychiatric professionals, and vocational experts who provided input at every phase of the rulemaking process.

The publication of this final rule is an important cornerstone of our effort to secure today and tomorrow for members of the public with mental illness who are some of our most vulnerable beneficiaries.

You can learn more about the revised criteria at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current.