SSA issues final rules revising medical criteria for evaluating musculoskeletal disorders
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Monday, December 21, 2020

SSA issues final rules revising medical criteria for evaluating musculoskeletal disorders

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The SSA is revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments that it uses to evaluate claims involving musculoskeletal disorders in adults and children under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The revisions reflect adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, and comments the agency received from the public in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking (see 83 Fed. Reg. 20646, May 7, 2018).

The final rules will become effective on April 2, 2021. The SSA delayed the effective date of the rules to give the agency time to update its systems, and to provide training and guidance to all of its adjudicators before they are implemented. The current rules will continue to apply until the effective date of the final rules. When the final rules become effective, the SS will apply them to new applications filed on or after the effective date of the rules, and to claims that are pending on or after the effective date. This means that the SSA will use the final rules on and after their effective date in any case in which it makes a determination or decision. The agency expects that federal courts will review the agency’s final decisions using the rules that were in effect at the time the SSA issued the decisions. If a court reverses a final decision and remands a case for further administrative proceedings after the effective date of the final rules, the SSA will apply the final rules to the entire period at issue in the decision it makes after the court's remand.

For further information, contact Cheryl A. Williams, Office of Disability Policy, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, (410) 965-1020. See 85 Fed. Reg. 78164, December 3, 2020.

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