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Jul 10, 2008

Mental Impairment Listings Coming

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acted yesterday on Social Security's proposed new mental impairment listings. We can expect to see the proposal in the Federal Register shortly. Apparently, OMB forced Social Security to alter the proposal since the notice indicates that the "Concluded Action" on the proposal was "Consistent with Change."

The public will be able to comment on the proposal after it is published in the Federal Register. Social Security must then consider what will probably be extensive comments. It is virtually inconceivable that these regulations would be finalized before President Bush leaves office, especially since Bush has already promised no new regulations after November 1. Since final regulations will have to be approved again by OMB, the new President who takes office in January 2009 will be able in influence the final rules.

As I have said before, I and many others are apprehensive about this proposal. Previously, Social Security proposed regulations that would have increased the age categories of the grid regulations by two years in an obvious attempt to save money at the expense of Social Security disability claimants. This has been blocked by Congressional opposition, but could be revived at any time with little prior notice. More recently, Commissioner Astrue proposed new procedural rules that would have created barriers to claims being approved in another obvious attempt to save money at the expense of Social Security disability claimants. This too has been blocked by Congressional opposition, but, again, it could be revived at any time with little prior notice. Is this proposal in the same vein?

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