SSA issues rescission of AR 15-1(4) regarding spinal disorders
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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SSA issues rescission of AR 15-1(4) regarding spinal disorders

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

In accordance with 20 CFR 402.35(b)(2), 404.985(e) and 416.1485(e), the Commissioner of Social Security gives notice of the rescission of Social Security Acquiescence Ruling 15-1(4)—Radford v. Colvin, 734 F.3d 288 (4th Cir. 2013)—Standard for Meeting the Listing for Disorders of the Spine with Evidence of Nerve Root Compression. The rescission becomes effective on April 21, 2021.

This rescission notice is the result of publication of the final rule, “Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Musculoskeletal Disorders,” published on December 3, 2020 at 85 Fed. Reg. 78164. The final rule clarified the SSA’s longstanding policy that the requisite level of severity requires the simultaneous presence of all the medical criteria in the listing. Specifically, the final rule state in section 1.00C7 that, when the listing criteria are linked by the word “and,” the requirements must be present within a “close proximity of time.” The agency defines “close proximity of time” as meaning that all of the relevant criteria must appear in the medical record within a consecutive four-month period.

The SSA incorporated the provisions of former Listing 1.04A, the subject of the court's holding in Radford, into the final rule in Listing 1.15. Since Listing 1.15 links the symptoms, signs, findings, and impairment-related physical limitations found in A, B, C, and D of the listing with the word “AND,” these criteria, must appear in the medical record within a consecutive four-month period. Further, the final rule also clarified that the requirement that all the medical criteria in the listing be present simultaneously or within a close proximity of time applies to other listings that use the word “and” to link the elements of the required criteria.

Accordingly, because the regulation that was the subject of the Radford AR has been revised, the SSA is rescinding AR 15-1(4) concurrently with the effective date of the final rule, April 21, 2021.

For further information, contact Cheryl A. Williams, Office of Disability Policy, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 965-1020 or TTY 410-966-5609. See 85 Fed. Reg. 79063, December 8, 2020.

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