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Disability Evaluation, Social Security, and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: The Time Is Now

Escorpizo, Reuben DPT, MSc; Stucki, Gerold MD, MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 6 - p 644–651
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318297ae47
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Objective: To present the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a standard in disability evaluation and to discuss the usefulness and challenges of the ICF when applied in disability evaluation.

Conclusions: Disability evaluation can be described and measured using the ICF and ICF-related tools such as the Generic Set, ICF Core Sets specific to health conditions or settings, and measurement instruments that have been linked to the ICF. Wide implementation of the ICF in disability evaluation, specifically in work disability and social security, is needed along with education on the ICF of those in occupational medicine, work rehabilitation, disability adjudication, policy and legislation, and government agencies. The ICF can be used to provide disability criteria in determining functional and work capacity and as a reference framework and a language of disability to help facilitate a common ground of understanding.

From the Department of Physical Therapy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Dr Escorpizo), New Orleans, La; ICF Research Branch of the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classifications in Germany (DIMDI) (Drs Escorpizo and Stucki), Nottwil, Switzerland; and Swiss Paraplegic Research (Drs Escorpizo and Stucki), Nottwil, Switzerland; Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy (Dr. Stucki), University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Address correspondence to: Reuben Escorpizo, DPT, MSc, Department of Physical Therapy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112 (rescor@lsuhsc.edu).

Dr Escorpizo is an employee of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). This article was developed in his professional capacity and does not necessarily represent the views of LSUHSC.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine