Update on Social Security Disability Determination for the Mentally Impaired

Academic Article


  • Reflecting concerns about Social Security Administration (SSA) policies regarding determination and review of disability status, Congress passed the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984. The Act stipulated that the combined effect of the claimants' impairments must be considered, required the revision of the Mental Disorders section of the Listing of Impairments, defined the criteria for discontinuation of benefits, and required an evidentiary hearing before revocation of disability status. In addition, the Act created an advisory council to aid the SSA in the area of disability determination and required that proposed rules governing disability determination be published 30 days before enactment. The role of psychologists in the determination and review process have been expanded in three ways: (a) the SSA must appoint at least one psychologist to the advisory council, (b) a psychologist or psychiatrist must evaluate a claimant who is to be denied benefits when mental impairment is in question, and (c) psychologists may now fulfill the role of medical adviser in disability hearings, providing testimony as mental health profesionals. In August 1985, the revised Mental Disorders section of the Listing of Impairments was published, providing diagnostic categories and criteria similar to that found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd ed.). © 1987 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Novack TA
  • Start Page

  • 265
  • End Page

  • 268
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 3