Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination
This presentation describes the results of a recent report/book published by the National Academy of Medicine as funding by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which controls two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is oriented for disabled individuals, and their dependent family members, who have contributed to the Social Security funds, and Supplemental Security Income (SSSI), which is in part a means-tested program for disabled adults and children. Given that both program are aimed, at least in part, for individuals with disabilities, it is imperative that assessments of disability, in this case, mostly cognitive disabilities are required so that malingering is avoided. Assessment are needed to determine both if claimants have a legitimate disability and meet specific medical criteria to qualify for benefits. SSA also establishes the presence of a medically-determined impairment in individuals with mental disorders other than intellectual disability through the use of standard diagnostic criteria, which include symptoms and signs. These impairments are established largely on reports of signs and symptoms of impairment and functional limitation. The report called for the greater use of psychological testing and assessment, including both neuropsychological and personality testing, both of which will be described in this session.