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Oct 17, 2011

More Own Motion Review Coming?

     Social Security has recently formed the Division of Quality in the Office of Appellate Operations. The Division of Quality appears to have been created to select Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions  to be reviewed and overturned by the Appeals Council, a process called "Own Motion Review." Own Motion Review is nothing new. It has been around for decades. The Appeals Council has always insisted that some ALJ decisions that denied disability claims are reviewed but it has always been clear that  vastly more decisions allowing claims are reviewed than decisions denying claims.
     Forming the Division of Quality may be of considerable importance or nothing of consequence. It all depends upon the resources devoted to the Own Motion Reviews.
     I may be paranoid but I have to wonder whether this is related to the recent Wall Street Journal stories about an ALJ in West Virginia who was approving almost all of the disability claims he reviewed. I also have to wonder whether the recent Ruling that will make it almost impossible to file an appeal from an ALJ decision and file a new disability claim at the same time is connected to this. That Ruling will discourage requests for Appeals Council review which will free up more staff time at the Appeals Council which could be used to clear off the huge backlogs at the Appeals Council or which could be used to do far more Own Motion Reviews.

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are clearly paranoid.

    7:03 AM, October 17, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    DQS has been in the works for 2-3 years and has been up and running with own motions for a year, it had nothing to do with the WV judge.

    8:40 AM, October 17, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Own Motion Reviews have tended to focus on allowances for the perfectly logical reason that denials can be applied to the Appeals Council by the claimant whereas nobody appeals an allowance. And unless you think that mistakes can only be made in one direction, there needs to be some mechanism to review allowances for errant decisions.

    9:33 AM, October 17, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Our SSA Area Director suggested that it was tied to new stewardship provisions in the budget. We can expect more CDRs, AC own motions, and overpayment collections as SSA tries to increase their budget by taking actions to assure that public funds are responsibly collected and expended.

    1:59 PM, October 17, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I had a case granted FF a few months ago which was, let's just say, questionable for the past year or so. It was definitely a favorable allowance by the ALJ. That was, and remains, my first own motion review, and we are set for a remand hearing (with the same ALJ) in a few months. I have handled thousands of cases for over half a decade and have never had this before, even on much more spurious approvals. I am not sure that Charles is simply paranoid...it could certainly be at least somewhat reactionary to ALJ Daugherty.

    5:08 PM, October 17, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Prior to SSI, there was 100% reveiw of all hearing decisions by the AC.
    In most Federal administrative agencies, the AL or ALJ only makes recommended decisions, subject to further review by the head of agency or board.

    11:24 AM, October 18, 2011  

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