Improving the Disability Decision Process

Recommendation 6-1: The committee recommends that prior to making the changes in the current decision process, SSA should

  1. establish evaluative criteria for measuring the performance of the decision process;

  2. conduct research studies and analyses to determine how the current processes work relative to these preestablished criteria; and

  3. evaluate the extent to which change would lead to improvement.

Recommendation 6-2: The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration conduct research on

  1. improving the ability to identify and measure job requirements for the purpose of determining work disability;

  2. investigating the role and effects of vocational factors in the disability decision process; and

  3. understanding reasons for variations in allowance rates among states and over time.

Recommendation 6-3: The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration initiate a research program for testing decision process models that emphasizes rehabilitation and return to work.

Enhancing Research Resources

Recommendation 7-1: The committee recommends that the intramural staff for disability research and statistics should be substantially expanded and diversified to implement the recommendations in this report.

Recommendation 7-2: The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration (SSA) expand and diversify its extramural research program to include a balance of contracts, cooperative agreements, and investigator-initiated grants. This broadened research program would prepare the SSA for the anticipated growth in the demands on the disability programs and to bring about the needed fundamental changes in its disability programs.

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