The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Electronic Claims Analysis Tool (eCAT)
eCAT is a computer system that records and displays claimant data uniformly. State agencies use it as they work through the claim evaluation process. eCAT allows users to input notes, evidence, and decisions, and then standardizes it so it appears uniform across all claimant files.
As it guides state agency staff through the claims process, eCAT provides links to SSA policy, protocols, and definitions in order to ensure that all user questions are answered and that information is entered as accurately and consistently as possible. In addition, eCAT uses “logical pathing,” which intuitively adds or withholds questions about a claimant’s condition based on answers to previous questions.
The eCAT system is still being developed, tested, and expanded. In 2012, it became mandatory for initial child and adult applications. It is currently optional for Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) and age-18 redeterminations. The SSA is working to make eCAT applicable to many other claim types.
The hope is that eCAT will eventually help ensure that SSA policy is applied consistently on a national level and will expedite the claims process and improve the quality of award decisions.