SSA Tries Alternative Methods of Decision Making

Through the years, the backlog of cases at Social Security has become epic.  There are three levels of determination now in most states.  Experiments have taken place over many years in which the middle or Reconsideration level is eliminated.

The Social Security Administration is now extending its tests of two alternative models for the disability determination process. This includes the “single decision maker test,” in which a disability examiner may make the initial disability determination in most cases without obtaining the signature of a medical or psychological consultant. Also extended is a separate test known as the “prototype,” which combines the single decision maker approach with the elimination of the reconsideration level of the administrative review process. The “prototype” test is being conducted in 10 states: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, California, and New York. (See 64 Fed. Reg. 47218, August 30, 1999.) The extension is valid until September 26, 2014.