'Mental retardation' no longer used by SSA

In recent times, terminology describing various impairments has changed to reflect a greater respect for people with disabilities. Where it used to be socially acceptable to refer to people in derogatory terms such "deaf and dumb," "retarded," or "crippled," these terms are now known to be hurtful and disrespectful. When people use thoughtful speech to refer to the disabled, it promotes greater self-esteem for these individuals as well as acceptance in the St. Louis and nationwide communities. Indeed, this concept is becoming more widespread as evidenced by a final rule recently published by the Social Security Administration. The update provides that the words "mental retardation" will now read "intellectual disability" in the SSA's agency rules.

The name change is becoming common in the way Americans look at disabled people. In fact, many states have made the switch from “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” in their law books. The federal government has swapped out the names in its education department, labor policy field, and health administration. Moreover, the psychology field has recognized the significance of labels when it released the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; the widely recognized book now uses the term “intellectual disability.”

The new Social Security Administration rule was published on August 1, 2013 and will become effective at the end of this month. People who apply for SSD benefits due to an intellectual disability will continue to have their claims assessed under the same requirements as before the name change. Because proper completion of the necessary SSA paperwork is critical for anyone looking to receive benefits, it can be a good idea to get in touch with an attorney who specializes in social security disability law. 

Source: Disability Scoop, “Social Security To Drop ‘Mental Retardation,'” Michelle Diament, Aug. 2, 2013

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