Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SSA Updating Mental Disorders Program Criteria

People with mental health and/or physical disabilities often have the odds stacked against them with regard to getting by in life. Without question, Americans living with disabilities have a lot with which to contend. And while those who are given the tools and care to foster in today’s society have a fighting chance, there is a significant number of people who have been left behind.

Scientific understanding of the brain and how it functions has come a long way in recent years, shedding light on various disabilities. Increased knowledge has given therapists the ability to better treat mental health disorders, which can greatly improve the quality of one’s life. Many of those living with any mental health illness require assistance in the form of Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

As was mentioned earlier, researchers continue to shine a light on mental illness, which means that those who once did not qualify for benefits may one day in the future. In order to qualify for SSA benefits for mental health disorder, one must meet the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a tome currently in its fifth edition (DSM-V), which was released in 2013. Now, three years later the SSA is finally updating its medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders program. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect on January 17, 2017.

"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, in a press release. "We are committed to updating our regulations to reflect up-to-date standards and practices used in the health care community." 

You can view the rule changes, by clicking here.

If you have a family member, whether an adult or child, who has a diagnosed mental disorder and you need more information about these SSA Rule Changes, please contact Stephanie Merritt Driscoll, an attorney in Southern California who focuses her practice as a Social Security Disability advocate.

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