NOSSCR took a major step forward in our work, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of our clients.
On Thursday, October 26, NOSSCR took a major step forward in our work, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of our members and your clients.
We brought forth simple, actionable, commonsense changes to SSA’s application procedures that would reduce processing time and actually save agency resources. Those changes include:
- Eliminating reconsideration. We advocate for eliminating the second step in the slowest states – such as Florida and South Carolina – or better yet, eliminating it altogether. Reconsideration adds an average of 210 days to the process while correcting very few decisions, and it should be pared back or eliminated to reduce costs and speed up the process.
- Relying on treating physicians. Our testimony urged SSA to rely on information and documentation from applicants’ own doctors to evaluate medical conditions, not third-party paid examiners. These third-party examiners make determinations without familiarity with claimants’ medical histories, often generating flawed reports, causing further delays and wasting additional resources.
- Consider VA findings. Removing the treating physician rule also created a bias against veterans because SSA no longer requires adjudicators to articulate consideration of findings of other agencies such as the VA. NOSSCR provided data to the Committee detailing this problem, and it must be remedied immediately.
- Eliminating e-signature verification. While SSA does allow for electronic signatures on many forms, it still requires verification of those signatures over the phone, which is unnecessary and time-consuming. What’s more, some staff incorrectly reject electronic signatures based on outdated guidelines. Removing the phone verification step entirely would streamline the process, saving valuable time and resources.
- Rely on modern vocational data. Social Security must stop using the DOT. The Department of Labor has a working version of a paid-for replacement, and Social Security is decades late in switching.
The testimony struck a chord with members of the Committee on both sides of the aisle and that testimony was a direct result of the feedback and stories from our members.
|“This is not going to be resolved simply by putting in more resources—money. Mr. Camp, your testimony, I went over it again, and it was very interesting when you talked about veterans. I’m almost numb when I talk about veterans. The area in which you talked about, reconsideration. I’m now even more concerned about veterans.” – Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ).|