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What's in a phrase? SSA to stop using 'mental retardation'

Here's some interesting news for our Pittsburgh readers: Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration announced that it would no longer be using the term 'mental retardation.' Instead, it will use the term 'intellectual disability.'

The administration had also considered using 'developmental disability' or 'cognitive impairment.' It settled on 'intellectual disability' because it seems that most stakeholders favored that term.

The Social Security Administration said it does not plan to change the way it evaluates intellectual disability claims. The decision applies only to the term used.

In making the change, the Social Security Administration is coming into line with many other federal agencies, which have already replaced the term 'mental retardation' thanks to 'Rosa's Law,' which President Barack Obama signed into law three years ago.

Although this may not seem like a big change, we have no doubt that some of our clients will appreciate it. The fact is, we spend a fair amount of our time helping clients attempt to claim the Social Security benefits to which they believe they are entitled. Because of our close familiarity with the Social Security Administration and how it operates, we have seen instances in which it appears that the Social Security Administration is not as sensitive as it could be. We also know that many people seeking Social Security benefits face an uphill battle as it is, so we anticipate that they will appreciate this gesture.

If you are having trouble obtaining the Social Security benefits you think you ought to receive, it may help to speak about the matter with an attorney.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Social Security To Drop 'Mental Retardation,'" Michelle Diament, Aug. 2, 2013

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