SSA Proposes to Eliminate Endocrine Listings

The Federal Register published on December 14, 2009 a change to the Endocrine Listing (Listing 9) proposed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA proposed that the impairments set out in Listing 9 be eliminated. Listing 9 includes not only thyroid disorders but also diabetes. The elimination proposal by SSA is based upon what SSA considers to be “advances in medical treatment in the detection” of endocrine disorders. As a consequence of these advances SSA believes that these types of disorders no longer meet the 12 month durational requirement.

SSA has also indicated that it has been advised by medical experts that the current listing regarding diabetes reflects “only inadequate glucose regulation.” SSA has been told by these experts that adequate glucose regulation is achievable with improved treatment options. If SSA ultimately decides to change the regulation as proposed, then severe impairments such as diabetes and thyroid disorders will no longer serve as a basis to obtain Social Security Disability benefits on on their own. If endocrine disorders cause problems of listing-level severity in other organs or glands, SSA will “evaluate these effects under other body system listings.”

Importantly, current beneficiaries who have received an award of Social Security disability benefits based upon endocrine disorders will not be terminated. They will, however, continue to be evaluated for medical improvement by continuing disability reviews but under the original listing upon which their initial entitlement was based.

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