Social Security Administration Proposes New Musculoskeletal Listings


In today's Federal Register, the Social Security Administration has proposed a massive rewrite of the listings for musculoskeletal impairments used in the evaluation of disability. These listings were last revised in November 2001.

Interestingly, Social Security did not consult with experts outside the Administration in developing the proposed listings. From the preamble:

"As medicine and medical treatment are continuously evolving, we utilized well-known references such as the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment from the American Medical Association, Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Orthopedics, and Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics as a starting point to develop the proposed changes to these rules. We also requested extensive input from our medical consultants (physicians employed by or who contract with us) who have years of experience practicing in relevant fields of medicine and who have intimate knowledge of our disability programs to develop our proposed changes to the musculoskeletal disorders listings. We rely on our medical consultants and their professional opinions based on their clinical experience and research to help us develop what criteria correspond with listing-level severity.

In developing our proposed rule changes, we used the resources above, our programmatic knowledge, our adjudicative experience, and the medical literature, such as Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Hand Clinics. These resources informed us of the most recent best practices and medical advancements and either support, or are consistent with, our proposed rule changes."

Comments to the proposed listings must be submitted by July 6, 2018.