Identification Number:
Intended Audience:All HQ authoring and approval
components, ROs, FOs, TSCs
Originating Office:ORDP ODEPPIN OPPS
Title:Incorporating Inclusive Language in Internal and External-Facing Documents and Resources
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
Retention Date: September 22, 2023

    A. Purpose
      This Emergency Message (EM) directs all agency employees to incorporate inclusive language in all of the agency’s written materials as those materials are drafted and updated. Detailed instructions on how and when to use inclusive language are outlined in a new section of the internal Quality Initiative for Commissioner’s Correspondence (QUICC) Handbook, Incorporating Inclusive Language in Internal & External-Facing Documents and Resources.

    B. Background
      In keeping with administration and agency priorities to provide a service that reflects the diversity of our customers, we are adopting more inclusive language in our internal and external written materials.

    C. Materials Affected
      These instructions apply to all agency written materials, internal and external. Examples of internal documents and resources include the agency’s intranet, decision memorandums, issue papers, opinions, and meeting agendas. Examples of external-facing documents and resources include the agency’s website, blog posts, press releases, fact sheets, Program Operations Manual Systems (POMS), Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Law Manual (HALLEX), agency notices, and research publications.

    D. Definition of inclusive language
      Inclusive language reflects recognition of diversity and fosters participation by all. Inclusive language promotes respect by placing individuals first, over characteristics. Inclusive language is particularly important for individuals in underrepresented communities and those who have been historically affected by inequality, including, but not limited to people of color, migrants, women, individuals who identify as LGBTQI+, older individuals, individuals with disabilities and individuals experiencing persistent poverty or homelessness. Inclusive language is intended to reflect and acknowledge all the people we serve.

    E. How to incorporate inclusive language
      Authors should use the QUICC Handbook when drafting new materials or updating existing materials. The Office of Data Exchange, Policy Publications, and International Negotiations (ODEPPIN) will also provide publication support to authors who submit POMS language revisions in the PolicyNet Publication System (PPS), or submit questions to the ^TNs EMs AMs mailbox. Currently, the QUICC Handbook is being updated with additional clarifications on inclusive language.

      NOTE: When referring to Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act, corresponding regulations, and Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments based on disability, it will be necessary and appropriate for authors to use the term “disability,” e.g., Social Security Disability Insurance program, The Basics About Disability Benefits, The Disability Application Process. Additionally, adjudicators will continue to use the term “disabled” as appropriate when making program findings for purposes of disability claims.

      If you have any questions, please contact ^TNs EMs AMs.

    QUICC Handbook, pgs.18-22, “Incorporating Inclusive Language in Internal & External-Facing Documents and Resources.”

    EM-22052 - Incorporating Inclusive Language in Internal and External-Facing Documents and Resources - September 22, 2022