Proposed Rule Changes by Social Security Could Markedly Reduce the Eligibility of Persons with Mental Illness

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking at making some very important changes to the mechanisms by which disability is determined for people with mental illness. The proposed changes would probably be expected to make it much more difficult to be found disabled by the SSA if the primary basis of disability is a mental illness.

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has studied and provided a recap of the proposed rule changes Major concerns revolve about the proposed implementation of standardized tests and eligibility determinations hinging on the number of standard deviations from the mean on the new standardized tests. Bazelon projects that only one to two percent of the nation’s population will qualify as disabled as a result of a mental illness under the rule change if adopted. This is far below the most conservative of the estimates of the people with mental illness that are thought to be unable to work.

There are no standardized tests that have a body of evidence that suggest the tests will be able to predict an individuals ability to work Adoption of the proposed rules can be expected to result in many people being turned down by Social Security, but who will not, due to their mental illness, be able to work.

You may express your concerns and/or objections to the proposed rule changes to the Social Security Administration, but you must do so by November 17, 2010. Address your comments to the SSA by one of the following methods:

Go to the website and search for docket number SSA-2007-0101 and follow directions.

or Fax the SSA at 410-966-2830

or mail the Office of Regulations, Social Security Administration, 137 Altmeyer Bldg., 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401