below can be used to satisfy the intellectual eligibility component.

  • Composite score is 76 or above: No individual can be eligible on the intellectual criterion if the composite score is 76 or above, regardless of part scores.2

The committee recommends continuation of the criterion of presumptive eligibility for persons with IQs below 60.


Committee member Keith Widaman dissents from this part of the recommendation. Dr. Widaman believes that IQ part scores representing crystallized intelligence (Gc, similar to verbal IQ) and fluid intelligence (Gf, related to performance IQ) have clear discriminant validity and represent broad, general domains of intellectual functioning. Therefore, a score of 70 or below on either of these part scores from any standardized, individually administered intelligence test that reports such scores should be deemed sufficient to meet the listings for low general intellectual functioning regardless of the level of the composite score, providing that the part scores have adequate psychometric properties (e.g., high reliability, low standard error of measurement). Dr. Widaman notes that, without any clear justification, SSA currently accepts either a composite IQ score from any standardized, individually administered intelligence test or a verbal or performance IQ score, any one of which can be 70 or below. SSA does not stipulate that the composite IQ must be below a certain score for a part score to be used. Dr. Widaman’s position provides a rationale for current SSA use of part scores, but it (a) aligns the acceptable part scores with the constructs of Gc and Gf used in contemporary theories of mental abilities and (b) argues that usable part scores for Gc and Gf should not be limited to those derived from any particular test instrument.

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