November 17, 2010

Comments Needed to Social Security Administration on Proposed Mental Disorders Regulations
Deadline: Wednesday, November 17

Background

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published proposed regulations to change the mental impairments. These are the criteria used to help determine whether an individual with intellectual disability, mental illness, autism, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive or mental disorders is disabled for purposes of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the Social Security disability programs.

The Arc and UCP have carefully reviewed these regulations and believe they make a number of significant improvements for people with disabilities. We are finalizing our comments and urge that you comment directly to SSA on the following key points:

1. Terminology. Thank SSA for proposing a transition to using the term “intellectual disability” and urge SSA to drop the use of the term “mental retardation” altogether with clear instructions that the terms have the same meaning and cover the same people.
2. Diagnosis. Urge SSA to ensure that decision-makers respect the valid diagnosis of intellectual disability made by professionals and do not allow them to dismiss a valid diagnosis based on their own limited observations.
3. Infants and toddlers. Support SSA’s proposed new listing for Developmental Disorders of Infants and Toddlers to evaluate developmental disorders for children from birth to age three.
4. Measures of functional ability. Urge SSA to eliminate the reference to the use of standardized tests for measuring the functional abilities of people with mental impairments, as related to the “paragraph B” criteria of the regulations, until such time as tests have been developed, assessed, and found to truly measure the areas of function that are under consideration.

Take Action

Please submit your comments online by the deadline of Wednesday, November 17 (11:59 p.m. eastern time) at:
http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480b3517b

Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts.



November 8, 2010
By Phil Villarreal on November 8, 2010 10:12 AM

The Grim Reaper of the recession harvested Rich’s door and screen company, leaving him with unpaid debts. Then the real nightmare began. Bank of America seized his elderly mother’s life savings to pay off Rich’s line of credit because she had added Rich’s name to the account to protect the funds in case she became incapacitated.

Now both Rich and his mother are sick to their stomachs. He writes:

“My partner and I tried to salvage our company by using our retirement to fend of this option to no avail.

Bank of America then proceeded to seize all of my mother’s savings from her B of A savings account with all the money she has in this world 27,500.00.

Two years ago my 87 year old mother asked me to sign on her account in the case that she were ill and not able to get to the bank and I complied.

My mother is on social security and has been for the last 20 years with no other income.

This was her money and I had no access at any time, nor did I ever deposit or withdraw funds at any time and that money was not mine and never to be it was saved from her social security.

I was not ever aware of the funds that she had and the account number was never information that I was privy to.

Mom was to use these funds to enter a retirement center this winter and now cannot.

In May of this year I was forced in bankruptcy protection as I had no other option with zero income In 2009.

This money was my mothers and only hers and I feel this is criminal and I want these funds returned to her account and I will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this.”

It’s doubtful BofA crossed any legal lines here, but it just seems wrong that Rich’s mother has to suffer due to a technicality. What would you do if this happened to you?


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