SSA Rescinds Three Past Rulings


On May 14, 2018 and June 18, 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced it would be rescinding three past Social Security Rulings (SSRs). There are several reasons the agency does this including duplication of the old ruling with a newer one or an update in information now available.  Please read below for a reposting from the Federal Register announcements regarding these updates.

Rescission of Social Security Ruling 05–02

Titles II and XVI: Determination of Substantial Gainful Activity if Substantial Work Activity Is Discontinued or Reduced— Unsuccessful Work Attempt  

Through SSRs, we make available to the public precedential decisions relating to the Federal old-age, survivors, disability, supplemental security income, and special veterans benefits programs. We may base SSRs on determinations or decisions made at all levels of administrative adjudication, Federal court decisions, Commissioner’s decisions, opinions of the Office of General Counsel, or other interpretations of the law and regulations. On February 28, 2005, we published SSR 05–02, which provides guidance about determining whether substantial work activity that is discontinued or reduced below a specified level may be considered an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) under the disability provisions of the law. SSR 05–02 explains the policies and procedures for evaluating a work effort of 3 months or less and work efforts between 3 and 6 months. On October 17, 2016, we published final rules, Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility, in the Federal Register at 81 FR 71367. These rules, among other things, removed some of the requirements for evaluation of an UWA that lasts between 3 and 6 months. Specifically, the rules removed the additional conditions that we used when we evaluated a work attempt in employment or self-employment that lasted between 3 and 6 months and provided that we now use one standard for work attempts lasting 6 months or less. Due to these final rules and the resulting simplification of our policies, SSR 05–02 is no longer correct. The final rules at 20 CFR 404.1574(c), 404.1575(d), 416.974(c), 416.975(d) (unsuccessful work attempts) were effective November 16, 2016.

Rescission of Social Security Rulings 96-3p and 96-4p:

In accordance with 20 CFR 402.35(b)(1), we give notice that we are rescinding the following SSRs:


  • SSR 96–3p: Titles II and XVI: Considering Allegations of Pain and Other Symptoms in Determining Whether a Medically Determinable Impairment is Severe.
  • SSR 96–4p: Titles II and XVI: Symptoms, Medically Determinable Physical and Mental Impairments, and Exertional and Nonexertional Limitations.

These SSRs are unnecessarily duplicative of SSR 16–3p Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims, which was applicable on March 28, 2016, published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2016, 81 FR 14166.1 SSR 16–3p, a more comprehensive statement of our policy on symptoms, explains how we evaluate the extent to which alleged symptoms limit an adult’s ability to perform work- related activities and a child’s ability to function effectively in an age- appropriate manner.

For a full copy of the Federal Register notification announcing this new SSR, please visit the Federal Register – Social Security Administration index for 2018 and search under Notices and Rulings.  


Categories:SSA Announcement