SSA Replaces “Mental Retardation” with “Intellectual Disability”

November 27, 2013

Effective September 3, 2013, SSA has replaced the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in its regulations.  The change reflects the widespread adoption of the term “intellectual disability” by Congress, government agencies, and public and private organizations.  The preface the the final rule acknowledges that the term “mental retardation” has negative connotations and has become offensive to many people, resulting in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and those who have it.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) supported this change as well as the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives ( NOSSCR).  The support provided by CCD, as well as that provided by other national groups advocating on behalf of individuals with disabilities, is specifically mentioned in the preface to the final rule.

Congrats to SSA for making this change!

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