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The Social Security Administration updated their rules regarding mental health disorders in September 2016. These rule changes became effective on January 1, 2017. While many of the rule changes are relatively minor, there are several changes that could significantly affect an individual’s claim and compensation levels.

Notable Inclusions

The SSA has added three new listings for adult conditions that qualify for compensation. These include neurodevelopmental disorders that may have begun during childhood or adolescence, eating disorders including bulimia and anorexia, and trauma and stressor-related disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Overall, the SSA has increased the number of conditions that qualify for compensation and assistance which means that many people who were previously disqualified may now qualify for Social Security Disability.

Criteria for Evaluating Intellectual Disorders Amended

SSA has revised the criteria used to determine whether or not an individual has an intellectual disability. The new criteria will focus on three primary factors that include whether the disability causes notable limitations in intellectual capacity, significantly hinders intellectual functioning and whether the individual shows a deficiency in adaptive functioning. Moreover, individuals will need to be able to demonstrate that these factors were present prior to turning 22 years of age.

Focusing in on the Four Areas of Functioning

The SSA focuses on four areas of functioning listed under the criteria for mental disorders. These include the individual’s ability to understand and apply information, engage and interact with those around them, concentrate and complete tasks, and adapt or manage time and resources. These criteria will be used to assess an individual’s mental capacity and the level of assistance or compensation they require. A Social Security Disability attorney in Tennessee can help applicants understand these changes and process the paperwork required to receive compensation under the new rules issued by SSA.