Reconsideration Level May Be Returning To 10 States
The Social Security Administration (SSA) appears to be moving forward with reinstating the reconsideration level in 10 “prototype” locations, which include the populous states of New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The first step in the appeals process for denied initial disability claims in these states is currently a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). All other states feature a reconsideration level as the first appeal, conducted by their Disability Determination Service (DDS) and followed by the ALJ hearing if the reconsideration is denied.
According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s recently released Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganizational Recommendations, restoring the reconsideration step would “establish a consistent national state disability appeals process” and “once fully implemented, SSA can return to a single nationwide appellate process."
“This change will allow claimants to receive benefits sooner at a lower administrative cost. In addition, it will provide some relief to SSA’s hearings backlog.”
The national allowance rate at the reconsideration level currently averages 13 percent. States affected by the proposed change are: Alabama, Alaska, California (Los Angeles North and West), Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania. Many of these “skip” states have hearing wait times well above the national average of 600 days.
The SSA is already meeting with key committees in Congress to discuss the three-year transition and a formal action plan is considered imminent. Appropriate staffing and training of DDS staff will be paramount for a successful transition, according to all parties.
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