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“Intellectual Disability” Verbiage Change for SSDI Applicants in Chico

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Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration made a significant change to the language they use to refer to individuals whose disabilities relate to diminished mental capacity and function. 

In SSA literature, databases, and other documentation, all references to “mental retardation” have been replaced with “intellectual disability.” General phrasing around this type of disability is evolving to avoid the implication of pity—for instance, “mentally retarded children” is now phrased as “children with intellectual disabilities.”

Disability advocates lauded the change. Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, said “Changing how we talk about people with disabilities is a critical step in promoting and protecting their basic civil and human rights.”

A change in language, not disability benefits access

However, many Northern California disability benefits applicants and claimants expressed concerns that the terminology may make it more difficult to obtain the SSDI or SSI support they need for daily life. 

The SSA responds that the language change will in no way affect the way this category of disability is determined, assessed, or compensated. The standard for establishing an intellectual disability will stay the same under the new terminology, and the level of income an individual qualifies for, if approved, will stay the same. 

This is not an effort to minimize the challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities, but, instead, to use language that affords them more dignity and respect.

If you are advocating for a loved one with intellectual disabilities in Chico to receive Social Security disability benefits, consider reviewing the case with a Red Bluff disability attorney. To learn more, fill out our online form, or call 888.761.7383 today.

Category: Social Security Disability

Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group

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