TN 19 (09-19)

DI 12015.100 Disability Redesign Prototype Model

A. Background

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has tested several disability process initiatives to improve the disability determination process. Some of those tests have been stand-alone tests, while others tested various combinations of modifications to the disability determination procedures. In 1997, we tested the Disability Redesign Full Process Model (FPM). The FPM initially tested four initiatives, the:

  1. 1. 

    Single decisionmaker model,

  2. 2. 

    Predecision interview model,

  3. 3. 

    Reconsideration elimination model, and

  4. 4. 

    Adjudication Officer model.

SSA later:

  • combined a test of the elimination of the Appeals Council request for review with the FPM and tested the elimination of the Appeals Council request for review as an adjunct to the FPM test;

  • identified the most successful elements of the FPM pilot and used them to create the Disability Redesign Prototype model; and

  • began testing the Disability Redesign Prototype model in the Disability Determination Services in 10 States in October 1999.

See details:

DI 12015.001 Introduction for Disability Redesign Tests

B. Disability redesign prototype model

The Disability Redesign Prototype model test features included the:

  1. 1. 

    Single decisionmaker (SDM) model

    Disability Examiners with SDM authority completed all disability determination forms and made initial disability determinations in many cases without medical or psychological consultant (MC or PC) signoff. MC review and signoff was required for all Title XVI childhood disability claims and for all Title II and Title XVI less than fully favorable determinations involving a mental impairment.

    Section 832 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) requires the Commissioner to make every reasonable effort to ensure that in all initial disability determinations a qualified physician (where a physical impairment is alleged) or a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist (where a mental impairment is alleged) complete the medical review of the file and complete any applicable residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. Therefore, section 832 of the BBA requires us to end the SDM test. In a notice published in the Federal Register on August 25, 2016, we stated that we would phase out the test by December 28, 2018. We ended SDM authority in all Prototype and SDM II States October 1, 2018.

    Effective October 1, 2018, Prototype continues without the use of SDM.

  2. 2. 

    Reconsideration elimination model

    There is no reconsideration step of the administrative review process for disability issues. The field office (FO) sends initial determination appeals on disability issues to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) for a hearing, as the first step in the administrative appeals process.

    Utilizing a roll out approach, SSA plans to reinstate reconsideration and end the reconsideration elimination model in all ten prototype states by March 31, 2020. Effective January 2019, the States of California, Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire and New York ended prototype and reinstated reconsideration.

    Effective April 20, 2019, the State of Pennsylvania ended prototype and reinstated reconsideration.

    Effective October 1, 2019, the States of Alabama and Michigan eliminated prototype and reinstated reconsideration.

C. Test States

There are 2 remaining States participating in the Prototype test:

  1. 1. 

    Alaska, and

  2. 2. 


D. Prototype operating instructions manual

The procedures for processing claims under the prototype test are in the Prototype Operating Instructions Manual. A copy of the manual is available on the Internet and on the Office of Disability Determinations intranet website.

NOTE: Some processing instructions in the manual may no longer be current due to electronic disability processing enhancements.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
DI 12015.100 - Disability Redesign Prototype Model - 09/16/2019
Batch run: 09/16/2019