Oct 2, 2014

ACUS Seeks Consultant

     From a Request for Proposals issued by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS):
The Administrative Conference is seeking a consultant or consultants to undertake a research project that will study federal court review of social security disability insurance and supplemental security income cases and make related recommendations. ... 
The study should : 
  • Review and analyze the Social Security Act, as well as SSA’s implementing regulations, policies, and practices for adjudicating social security disability claims, including the standards of appellate review. Relevant academic literature should also be reviewed and analyzed. 
  • Evaluate federal court interpretations and applications of SSA’s rules and regulations governing social security disability claims, noting patterns that show consistencies or inconsistencies among appellate and district courts. 
  • Survey federal court practices and procedures for handling social security cases — including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and local rules and policies of individual federal courts — to identify varying approaches and differential impacts. 
  • Examine SSA’s acquiescence rulings and how the agency applies decisions of federal appellate courts that are at variance with SSA’s national policies. 
  • Survey or interview federal officials responsible for defending the agency’s litigation or administering its programs, as well as judges and lawyers, as appropriate. Given the breadth of the potential research, project submissions should offer concrete substantive proposals to address these topics and frame the scope of work. ...
     Hint to anyone wanting to submit a proposal: Paul Verkuil, the chairman of ACUS, has been calling for an Article I Social Security court for many years. Another hint: Verkuil seems to exhibit a concern that too many claims for Social Security disability benefits are being approved. A third hint: Harold Krent might have the inside track to get this contract.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What I find fascinating about ACUS' approach to these projects in that they turn a conspicuous blind eye to the best sources of information.

So you want to observe trends and potential errors in SSA adjudication practices. Wouldn't it be great if there were someone who, day in and day out, over decades, made it their business to observe those trends and identify those errors? ACUS could talk to people like that and get great insight into the topic they propose to cover.

Of course, I am describing claimant's attorneys who handle cases at the ALJ through Federal Court levels. Their job involves observing those trends and identifying such errors. There are some who have done so well for decades and built a wealth of knowledge on the topic.

Does ACUS consult with them? Judging from its past reports, and the currently listed proposal, no. Some academics with little or no real experience in handling Social Security claims will write the article, which will likely overlook important issues as a result. I'd be glad to proven wrong this time, but I likely won't.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's consult people whose interests are often completely the opposite of SSA's and who have a vested stake in the outcome of actual, specific cases to find out how good outcomes are. Sounds like a wonderfully good source of objective information.

Anonymous said...

http://nypost.com/2014/10/01/former-nypd-cop-accused-of-disability-fraud/

Anonymous said...

To 1:27: while yes, we are advocates, the claimant's attorney does have the same interest as SSA. We are all interested in making sure the people who legitimately meet the disability criteria set forth by SSA are awarded disability benefits. As a tax payer, I, too, don't want underserving people obtaining benefits. However, while the rare cases of fraud make the headlines, I assure you that there are countless more cases of legitimately disabled people who are denied. The damage done to these people and their families are the real stories that should be told.

Anonymous said...

To 1:27: while yes, we are advocates, the claimant's attorney does have the same interest as SSA. We are all interested in making sure the people who legitimately meet the disability criteria set forth by SSA are awarded disability benefits. As a tax payer, I, too, don't want underserving people obtaining benefits. However, while the rare cases of fraud make the headlines, I assure you that there are countless more cases of legitimately disabled people who are denied. The damage done to these people and their families are the real stories that should be told.