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Social Security Advisory Board Examination of Social Security’s Reinstatement of Reconsideration

April 23, 2020

Summary: The issue brief was written in response to a request from the Chair and Ranking Member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee. The brief examines 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.