The Social Security Administration is Replacing the Term “Mental Retardation” in its Listing of Impairments

The United States Federal Register is replacing the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in the Listing of Impairments that are used to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act and in other appropriate sections of the rules.

This change reflects the widespread adoption of the term “intellectual disability” by Congress, government agencies, and various public and private organizations.

“Advocates for individuals with intellectual disability have rightfully asserted that the term ‘‘mental retardation’’ has negative connotations, has become offensive to many people, and often results in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and those who have it,” the Social Security Administration concluded.

The final rule which will take effect on September 3, 2013, follows the January 28, 2013 release of draft regulations and a call for public comment.

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