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Social Security Administration adopts 'intellectual disability'

Living with a mental disability can make life extremely challenging, as some New York residents know firsthand. Unfortunately, because many mental conditions are not well-understood by the general public, these people can be treated unfairly and often disrespectfully. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has recently taken a step to help change that.

The SSA announced recently that it will discontinue the use of the term "mental retardation" in its lists of impairments and all other literature. The SSA will replace the term that many people find to be very offensive with "intellectual disability." Many disability advocates have applauded this change.

More than two years ago, President Obama signed a law that required all use of the term "mental retardation" in the policies of three major federal divisions to be replaced with "intellectual disability." Although it took some time, the signing of Rosa's Law prompted others like the SSA to follow suit. 

According to the SSA, nothing will change as far as the application process goes. Applicants with intellectual disabilities will still have to fill out the same paperwork and meet the same qualifications before they can be approved for disability benefits. 

The term "mental retardation" and other similar terms have long been a source of hurt and disrespect toward people with intellectual disabilities. The last place people should feel discriminated against is an agency that is supposed to be helping them. Fortunately, the SSA has taken necessary steps to ensure respectful treatment of all applicants of Social Security Disability Insurance. 

Source: Austin Daily Herald, "Social Security Administration erases 'mental retardation' term," Aug. 3, 2013

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