House Hearings on Social Security Administration (SSA) Disability Programs Continue
On November 19th, the House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements held another hearing on the SSA’s disability programs. Both Subcommittee members and SSA personnel were present at the hearing.
The hearing dealt with a variety of issues facing the SSA. What follows is a list of just a few noteworthy items discussed in the hearing:
-The SSA Inspector General (IG) noted that allowance and denial data suggest that the SSA’s ALJs have demonstrated increasing consistency in decision making.
-Subcommittee members suggested appointing a federal government representative to be present at SSA hearings in order to represent taxpayers; the SSA personnel present did not agree that a government representative would benefit the hearing process in any meaningful way, and furthermore, that a similar policy was attempted and terminated in the 1980s.
-The IG noted that the SSA has submitted for review a new rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the rule deals with the submission of adverse evidence and under what circumstances claimant representatives should be required to submit it.
-Both Subcommittee members and SSA personnel agreed that CDRs needed to be conducted on a more frequent basis; the SSA noted that insufficient funding has affected the frequency of CDRs.
-Subcommittee members questioned the administration of the Medical Improvement Review Standard (MIRS) in terms of how it might result in improper benefit payments. SSA personnel responded that studies dealing specifically with the MIRS and resulting benefit payments are currently underway.