[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 24 (Monday, February 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5734-5735]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2498]


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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

20 CFR Part 404

[Docket No. SSA-2006-0179]
RIN 0960-AG21


New Medical Criteria for Evaluating Language and Speech Disorders

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: We are considering whether to propose new rules for evaluating 
language and speech disorders. The new rules would apply to disability 
claims involving language and speech disorders in adults and children 
under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). Specifically, 
we are considering whether to add a new body system in the Listing of 
Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations 
(listings) for these disorders. We are requesting your comments about 
whether we should establish these new rules, as well as suggestions 
about what the proposed rules should include. If we decide to propose 
specific listings, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(NPRM) in the Federal Register.

DATES: To be sure that we consider your comments, we must receive them 
by no later than April 6, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods--
Internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the comments multiple times or by 
more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, please 
state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA-2006-0179 so that we 
may associate your comments with the correct regulation.
    Caution: You should be careful to include in your comments only 
information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge 
you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as 
Social Security numbers or medical information.
    1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments 
via the

[[Page 5735]]

Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the Search function to find docket number SSA-
2006-0179. The system will issue you a tracking number to confirm your 
submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately 
because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week 
for your comment to be viewable.
    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.
    3. Mail: Address your comments to the Office of Regulations, Social 
Security Administration, 107 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security 
Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401.
    Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during 
regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl A. Williams, Office of Medical 
Listings Improvement, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security 
Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, (410) 965-1020. For 
information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national 
toll-free number, 1-(800) 772-1213, or TTY 1-(800) 325-0778, or visit 
our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What is the purpose of this advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
(ANPRM)?

    We are considering whether to add to our listings a new body system 
for evaluating language and speech disorders. The new listings would 
apply to claims involving language and speech disorders in adults and 
children under titles II and XVI of the Act. This notice gives you an 
opportunity to send us comments about whether we should establish these 
new rules and, if so, suggestions about what the proposed rules should 
include.

Why are we considering new listings for language and speech disorders?

    Our current listings provide criteria for evaluating language and 
speech disorders in several body systems, including Special Senses and 
Speech, Neurological, and Mental Disorders. Some of these listings 
describe language or speech disorders that result from or occur with 
specific disorders, such as cerebral palsy (listing 11.07C). Other 
listings describe language or speech disorders in terms of the 
resulting limitations in functioning, such as loss of speech with the 
inability to produce by any means speech that can be heard, understood, 
or sustained (listing 2.09). We are considering whether it would be 
better to establish a new body system that would:
     Use consistent terminology for describing language or 
speech disorders;
     Describe listing-level impairments for people who have 
very serious language or speech problems; and
     Provide clear and comprehensive criteria for evaluating 
all language and speech problems in adults and children, regardless of 
their cause.

Who should send us comments and suggestions?

    We invite comments and suggestions from anyone who has an interest 
in how we evaluate claims for benefits in our disability programs that 
are filed by people who have language and speech disorders. We are 
interested in comments and suggestions from people who apply for or 
receive benefits from us, members of the general public, advocates and 
organizations that represent people who have language or speech 
disorders, State agencies that make disability determinations for us, 
experts in the evaluation of language or speech disorders, and 
researchers.

What should you comment about?

    We are interested in knowing whether you think it is a good idea to 
establish a new body system in our listings for language and speech 
disorders and, if so, what the new listings should say. For example, do 
you have any ideas about how we should:
     Describe listing-level severity for particular kinds of 
language and speech disorders in both adults and children?
     Consider language and speech disorders when they result 
from neurological disorders?
     Consider language and speech disorders when they have no 
identifiable cause?
     Consider language and speech problems in young children 
when they have delayed or disordered language and speech development?
     Consider communication demands in a school setting when we 
evaluate language and speech disorders in children?
     Consider communication demands in a work setting when we 
evaluate language and speech disorders in adults?
    We are also interested in knowing what guidelines for documenting 
and evaluating language and speech disorders you believe we should 
include in the introductory section for the new body system.

Will we respond to your comments?

    We will not respond directly to the comments you send in response 
to this ANPRM. When we decide whether to propose new rules for 
evaluating language and speech disorders, we will consider:
     All comments and suggestions we receive in response to 
this notice;
     The comments and suggestions that we received in response 
to the ANPRM that we published on April 13, 2005 (70 FR 19351); \1\
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    \1\ The comments we received in response to this ANPRM are 
available at: http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket SSA-2006-
0179.
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     Information we received at a Policy Conference on Language 
and Speech Disorders in the Disability Program, held September 26-27, 
2005; \2\
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    \2\ The full transcripts for the Policy Conference are available 
at: http://www.regulations.gov, under Document IDs SSA-2006-0179-
0002 and SSA-2006-0179-0003.
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     Information about advances in medical knowledge, 
treatment, and methods of evaluating impairments that affect language 
or speech; and
     Our disability program experience.
    If we propose new rules, we will publish an NPRM in the Federal 
Register and you will have a chance to comment on the proposed rules.

List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 404

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, 
Old-age, survivors and disability insurance, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Social Security.

Michael J. Astrue,
Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 2012-2498 Filed 2-3-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4191-02-P