SSA Latest Entity to Drop Outdated ‘Mental Retardation’ Label

Posted on Aug 16, 2013

Since President Obama signed Rosa’s Law (legislation mandating that the term ‘mental retardation’ be removed from federal health, education and labor policy and replaced with the updated terminology ‘intellectual disability’) in 2010, several public entities have also adopted the change, despite not being required to do so.

The Social Security Administration initially proposed taking on the ‘intellectual disability’ verbiage this winter. The proposal to strike the old verbiage met with overwhelming support, though some preferred different terminology, such as ‘cognitive impairment’ or ‘developmental disability.’

On August 1, 2013, the agency announced in a rule published in the Federal Register that the change had been made official. It will go into full effect on the first of September.

All references to ‘mental retardation’ will now be changed to the updated term ‘intellectual disability’ in all Social Security literature and databases.

Advocates have long felt the old terminology is needlessly hurtful and marginalizing. There has also been a growing concern that perpetuates misunderstanding of the disability and the hardships it presents.

The agency emphasizes that the language change will have no impact on how claims are evaluated for individuals with disabilities of this nature.

To learn more about what Cuddigan Law can do to help you with disability benefits in Lincoln, call 402-933-5405 or 402 261-4005 or email [email protected] today. We meet with clients by appointment at 3800 Normal Blvd., Ste 201, Lincoln, NE 68506. Be sure to get your copy of our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

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Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska