Social Security Advisory Board Issues Brief Examining Social Security’s Decision to Reinstate Reconsideration Appeal Step in Ten States
April 23, 2020
Washington, DC – In response to a request from the Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, the Social Security Advisory Board (“Board”) released an issue brief examining Social Security’s decision to reinstate the reconsideration appeals step in the ten states participating in a Prototype pilot since 1999. In these states, a person whose initial disability benefit claim was denied could appeal the decision directly to a hearing before an administrative law judge instead of moving to a second review by a different state examiner.
The Board’s findings include:
- Social Security fulfilled nearly all the resource requests it received from the ten states
- A uniform national appeals process does not address variability in state Disability Determination Services administration and policy interpretation
- Efforts by the Board to evaluate reconsideration were hampered by a lack of data or a decision not to provide available data to the Board
The brief also includes a list of research questions the Board believes should be answered through a rigorous, publicly available evaluation.
Upon release of the brief, Board Chair Kim Hildred said:
“Commissioner Saul has made improving customer service his number one priority. Even as Social Security faces unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, we continue to encourage Social Security to utilize a data-driven approach to monitor and assess service delivery, making greater use of data and increasing transparency of operational processes and assessments. Public-facing analysis of the evidence to build support for the way the agency does business is essential to ensuring public confidence in Social Security programs. The Board is committed to supporting the Commissioner, as well as Congress and the Office of Management and Budget, in the advancement of these efforts.”
The Board’s mission is to provide the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security advice and guidance with respect to matters of policy and administration of the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs.