Jul 14, 2015

Isn't 19 Years Of Testing Enough?

     The Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) has released an Issue Brief on the Single Decision Maker Pilot. In the Single Decision Maker (SDM) Pilot a single disability examiner can process a disability claim at the initial or reconsideration levels without having a medical consultant sign off on the determination. The agency has been testing SDM since 1996. So, why has it taken 19 years to test SDM? Is Social Security finally ready to either cancel SDM altogether or make it national? Oddly, neither SSAB nor Social Security seems to have an answer for either question. Probably the reason that Social Security doesn't want to go national with SDM is that it leads to a slight increase in the allowance rate and that's a huge negative as far as Social Security and SSAB are concerned. The reason that the SDM Pilot isn't cancelled is that SDM decreases processing time which is a positive. So it looks as if we'll just continue with the SDM Pilot indefinitely.


Anonymous said...

Sort of like the Prototype states for the elimination of the Recon level. At some point, you need to make a decision as to which way is the way to go. Eliminate the Recon level, but make sure the ODAR has the ability to allow cases without a hearing.

Anonymous said...

It is a joke that SSA uses SDMs.

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience in multiple states that SDMs are easily manipulated by supervisors and DDS management in one way or another towards denials or allowances, depending upon the political leanings of a particular office, state or region. Being highly prone to bias has raised eyebrows but not sufficiently to consider the offset in reduced mean processing time. SDMs are easier to push blame downward to if something goes sideways. Therefore, SDMs are unlikely to ever go away.