Representing Disabled Clients for Over 25 Years

Social Security Lawyer

Donald H. Peters


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The structure of the mental disorders listings for children under age 18 parallels the structure for the mental disorders listings for adults but is modified to reflect the presentation of mental disorders in children. The listings for mental disorders in children are arranged in 11 diagnostic categories: Organic mental disorders (112.02); schizophrenic, delusional (paranoid), schizoaffective, and other psychotic disorders (112.03); mood disorders (112.04); mental retardation (112.05); anxiety disorders (112.06); somatoform, eating, and tic disorders (112.07); personality disorders (112.08); psychoactive substance dependence disorders (112.09); autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders (112.10); attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (112.11); and developmental and emotional disorders of newborn and younger infants (112.12).

There are significant differences between the listings for adults and the listings for children. There are disorders found in children that have no real analogy in adults; hence, the differences in the diagnostic categories for children. The presentation of mental disorders in children, particularly the very young child, may be subtle and of a character different from the signs and symptoms found in adults. For example, findings such as separation anxiety, failure to mold or bond with the parents, or withdrawal may serve as findings comparable to findings that mark mental disorders in adults. The activities appropriate to children, such as learning, growing, playing, maturing, and school adjustment, are also different from the activities appropriate to the adult and vary widely in the different childhood stages.

Each listing begins with an introductory statement that describes the disorder or disorders addressed by the listing. This is followed (except in listings 112.05 and 112.12) by paragraph A criteria (a set of medical findings) and paragraph B criteria (a set of impairment-related functional limitations). An individual will be found to have a listed impairment when the criteria of both paragraphs A and B of the listed impairment are satisfied.

The purpose of the criteria in paragraph A is to substantiate medically the presence of a particular mental disorder. Specific symptoms and signs under any of the listings 112.02 through 112.12 cannot be considered in isolation from the description of the mental disorder contained at the beginning of each listing category. Impairments should be analyzed or reviewed under the mental category(ies) indicated by the medical findings.

Paragraph A of the listings is a composite of medical findings which are used to substantiate the existence of a disorder and may or may not be appropriate for children at specific developmental stages. However, a range of medical findings is included in the listings so that no age group is excluded. For example, in listing 112.02A7, emotional lability and crying would be inappropriate criteria to apply to older infants and toddlers, age 1 to attainment of age 3; whereas in listing 112.02A1, developmental arrest, delay, or regression are appropriate criteria for older infants and toddlers. Whenever the adjudicator decides that the requirements of paragraph A of a particular mental listing are satisfied, then that listing should be applied regardless of the age of the child to be evaluated.

The purpose of the paragraph B criteria is to describe impairment-related functional limitations which are applicable to children. Standardized tests of social or cognitive function and adaptive behavior are frequently available and appropriate for the evaluation of children and, thus, such tests are included in the paragraph B functional parameters. The functional restrictions in paragraph B must be the result of the mental disorder which is manifested by the medical findings in paragraph A.

We did not include separate C criteria for listings 112.02, 112.03, 112.04, and 112.06, as are found in the adult listings, because for the most part we do not believe that the residual disease processes described by these listings are commonly found in children. However, in unusual cases where these disorders are found in children and are comparable to the severity and duration found in adults, we may use the adult listings 12.02C, 12.03C, 12.04C, and 12.06C criteria to evaluate such cases.

The structure of the listings for Mental Retardation (112.05) and Developmental and Emotional Disorders of Newborn and Younger Infants (112.12) is different from that of the other mental disorders. Listing 112.05 (Mental Retardation) contains six sets of criteria. If an impairment satisfies the diagnostic description in the introductory paragraph and any one of the six sets of criteria, we will find that the child's impairment meets the listing. For listings 112.05D and 112.05F, we will assess the degree of functional limitation the additional impairment(s) imposes to determine if it causes more than minimal functional limitations, i.e., is a "severe" impairment(s), as defined in § 416.924(c).

If the additional impairment(s) does not cause limitations that are "severe" as defined in § 416.924(c), we will not find that the additional impairment(s) imposes an additional and significant limitation of function. Listing 112.12 (Developmental and Emotional Disorders of Newborn and Younger Infants) contains five criteria, any one of which, if satisfied, will result in a finding that the infant's impairment meets the listing.

It must be remembered that these listings are examples of common mental disorders that are severe enough to find a child disabled. When a child has a medically determinable impairment that is not listed, an impairment that does not meet the requirements of a listing, or a combination of impairments no one of which meets the requirements of a listing, we will make a determination whether the child's impairment(s) medically or functionally equals the listings. (See §§ 404.1526, 416.926, and 416.926a.) This determination can be especially important in older infants and toddlers (age 1 to attainment of age 3), who may be too young for identification of a specific diagnosis, yet demonstrate serious functional limitations. Therefore, the determination of equivalency is necessary to the evaluation of any child's case when the child does not have an impairment that meets a listing.

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Call Social Security Professionals now to discuss your claim for free

You need no money to hire Attorney Donald H. Peters

(248) 549-3485

Southfield Lawyer Donald Peters of the Law Office of Donald H. Peters, P.C. in Southfield, Michigan, handles Social Security Disability claims throughout Michigan and in the Tri-County Metro Detroit area including Detroit, Southfield, Novi, Warren, Royal Oak, Roseville, Livonia, Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights, Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Berkley, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor, Eastpointe, Waterford, Flint, Canton, Taylor, Romulus, Westland, Clinton Township, Troy, Dearborn, Brighton, Howell, Pontiac, Rochester Hills,  as well as Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Ingham County, and Livingston County, Michigan.


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