Improving the Disability Process
Earlier this year, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements convened for a hearing on improving the disability process. On the panel of witnesses present were representatives from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the National Association of Disability Examiners (NADE).
Much of the hearing focused on the importance of Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)—specifically on the importance of the CDR as return on taxpayer investment, a money-saving tool, and on the current CDR backlog, which is somewhere around 1.3 million.
Medical improvement standards were another of the issues discussed at the hearing. The representative from the GAO argued that the SSA needs to provide greater clarification of its Medical Improvement standards in order to make it clear when a cessation of benefits is warranted.
The representative from the OIG briefed those present on the role of Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) units as a means of detecting and investigating disability fraud. He, too, stressed the importance of CDRs as a tool for preventing benefit overpayment, and emphasized the how the lack of funds allocated for CDRs is hurting the SSA and taxpayers alike.