Single Decisionmaker Model (SDM) Pilot Extended
In 2013, the Social Security Administration (SSA) extended the Single Decisionmaker Model (SDM) pilot program through September 26, 2014.
In 1999, the SSA instituted the SDM pilot program in 20 Disability Determination Services sites. The program was designed to streamline the disability decision process and improve customer service by allowing DDS disability examiners at those 20 sites to make certain types of initial decisions without getting a medical or psychological consultant to sign off on them.
In 2011, the SSA selected and analyzed 3,900 disability claims filed at both SDM and non-SDM DDS sites for back and genito-urinary disorders in order to evaluate the impact of the SDM pilot. After reviewing the cases, the SSA came to the conclusion that the SDM did not affect the quality of the disability decisions made by DDS examiners at SDM sites. Furthermore, all 20 SDM sites offered positive feedback on the program, citing improved customer service, shorter processing times, reduced administrative costs, and greater workplace morale.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has urged the SSA to use the time provided by the pilot program’s extension to decide the future of the SDM program.