Disability for Work

At the beginning of the ICF revision process, the International MH/ ABCD Task Force had a unique role. It was the only entity with responsibility for input into all aspects of ICF. Initially, each of three collaborating centers had responsibility for the first draft of either the then-labeled impairments, disability, or handicap sections.16 When the Alpha draft of the then-titled ICIDH-2 was compiled, all revision participants had responsibility for all aspects of the entire draft.

In the development of its first revision efforts, the International MH/ ABCD Task Force reviewed SSA’s disability determination and the PRTF to ensure the inclusion of appropriate domains and items pertaining to disability for work. Particular attention was paid to the inclusion of the first three B criteria. The items that constitute the first two B criteria are currently located in the ICF activity component (i.e., activities of daily living [B1] and social functioning [B2]) while a major aspect of the third B criterion (i.e., concentration) is located in the impairment section (i.e., sustained attention). The description of the assessment of severity in the mental disorder listings includes extensive lists of both activities that constitute activities of daily living and social functioning, most of which can be found as individual items in the ICF. Because the ICF provides definitions, other parts of the third B criterion—persistence and pace—can be operationalized in one or more of the items contained under the ICF heading “carrying out daily routine” (ICF code d230).

Other aspects of work—responding to current thought in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation—were introduced under the activities component. These items include seeking, maintaining, and terminating jobs. Interpersonal aspects of work are also among the items in interpersonal relationships, such as “relating to persons in authority” and “relating with subordinates,” that can be applied to supervisory relationships. Other codes readily apply to relationships with coworkers. The ICF also contains a chapter on general tasks and demands that has items concerning undertaking single and multiple tasks, working independently and in groups, and handling stress. They are worthy of SSA’s attention.

Related Assessment and Research Instruments

Research on three instruments related to ICF developed for assessment of, and research on, functioning and disability is in different stages.


Impairments were developed under the auspices of the French Collaborating Center; disabilities/activities under the Dutch; and handicap/participation under the North American Collaborating Center (NACC). NACC is housed in the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement