Balance of Powers: Social Security and the Mentally Disabled, 1980-1985

Concern about costs in the early 1980s led both Congress and the newly installed Reagan administration to initiate an intensive review of eligibility for disability benefits under the Social Security system. Within a year it became apparent that a high percentage of mentally disabled were being declared ineligible. Much of the problem derived from the use of outdated criteria to determine mental disability. After a protracted struggle, the executive branch yielded to pressure from various advocacy groups, as well as the judiciary and legislative branches, and began to revise the criteria on the basis of contemporary psychiatric and rehabilitation standards.

Author(s): Howard H. Goldman; Antoinette A. Gattozzi

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Volume 66, Issue 3 (pages 531–551)
Published in 1988