A recent article highlighted the Social Security Administration’s proposal to begin using the term “intellectual disability” instead of the term “mental retardation.” Under federal guidelines, people who are intellectually disabled may receive Social Security Disability benefits if they meet certain requirements. 

Two years ago, Congress required the language switch in all federal health, education, and labor policies. The change was mandated by Rosa’s Law. While the Social Security Administration was not required to make the change, officials said they wanted to follow the lawmakers’ lead. The Administration recognized that the term “mental retardation” has negative connotations and offends many people. 

Following publication, a 30-day public comment period was held. At the comment period’s conclusion, officials may move forward with the terminology change. The Administration would update all references to “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded children” with “intellectual disability” and “children with intellectual disability” within Social Security’s Listing of Impairments and other rules.

The Administration proposed a similar change once before. In 2010, the Administration issued a proposed rule that would have updated the eligibility criteria for those with mental disorders. Within the proposal, officials indicated an intention to replace references to “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability/mental retardation.” No further action was taken on the 2010 proposal.

If you believe that you or a loved one might qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you may wish to speak to the Texas disability benefit lawyers at Morgan & Weisbrod, LLP. You may fill out an online form or call us at 800-800-6353.

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