Recommendation 2013-1, “Improving Consistency in Social Security Disability Adjudications,” identifies ways to improve the adjudication of Social Security disability benefits claims before administrative law judges and the Appeals Council, suggests changes to the evaluation of opinion evidence from medical professionals, and encourages the agency to enhance data capture and reporting.
Social Security Disability Adjudication
Project Stages:1. Gather ideas - Completed
2. Select ideas - Completed
3. Council approval - Completed
4. Picking a researcher - Completed
5. Committee consideration - Completed
6. Back to the council - Completed
7. Consideration by the full conference - Completed
8. Implementation - Current
The Administrative Conference of the United States was asked by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to study adjudication relating to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs and recommend improvements. The study provides an independent review that analyzes the impact of SSA’s treating physician rule on the role of the courts in reviewing SSA disability decisions and considers measures that SSA could take to reduce the number of cases remanded to it by courts. The study also addresses the role of the SSA Appeals Council in reviewing cases to reduce any observed variances in administrative law judges’ (ALJs’) decisional outcomes and application of agency policies. Legal and empirical consideration is given to the efficacy of expanding the Appeals Council’s already existing authority to conduct more focused reviews of ALJ decisions, how the Appeals Council may select cases for review, when review should occur (i.e., pre- or post-effectuation), as well as the scope and manner of review.