DI 39557.005 Technical and Management Assistance (TMA) -- DDS

A. Policy principle

The Federal/State regulations:

  • set standards designed to improve overall DDS performance in the disability determination process, and

  • stipulate that SSA provide the DDS with TMA in accordance with their level of performance and the nature of the problem(s).

B. Definition

The term “technical and management assistance”is defined as actions undertaken, or sponsored, by SSA to help a State meet the regulatory requirements in its performance of the disability determination functions.

C. Operating policy

SSA willprovide TMA when a DDS' performance falls belowthe standards spelled out in the regulations and this subchapter, e.g., performance level 5.

SSA mayprovide TMA when a DDS' performance reveals , as a result of monitoring activities, the DDS accuracy or processing timeshave declined significantly.

1. Mandatory TMA

  1. Mandatory TMAis requiredwhen:

    • DDS failsto meet twoof the three threshold levels for two consecutive calendar quarters.

      NOTE:One of the two threshold levels must be accuracy.

    • DDS fails to meet any oneof the threshold levels for two consecutive quarters.

    Providing TMA for States performing at this level is discretionary for SSA. However, if it is offered, it must be accepted by the State.

  2. The approachto providing assistance to a DDS will vary depending on the underlying cause of an agency's problem.

  3. Some actionsthat may take placeif a DDS requires mandatory TMA.

    • Perform onsite review of cases processedby the DDS.

    • Conduct a Fiscal and Administrative Management Review; i.e., systematic examination and evaluation of DDS' policies. (See DI 39557.013 B.3.)

    • Requestimplementation of necessary administrative measures,e.g., filling vacancies, using overtime, initiating training activities.

    • Provide Federal personnelor team of outstanding performersfrom other DDSsto perform onsite reviews, conduct training, or perform other functions needed to improve performance.

    • Provide for fiscal aidto allow implementation of corrective actions such as overtime, temporary hiring of additional staff, etc., above the authorized budget.

    • Recommend diversionof workloadto the RO, CO, or another DDS.

    • Recommendstationing an SSA person in the DDS, if considered appropriate.

    • Recommendpart(s) of the process be contracted out, e.g., clerical, if permitted by union contracts.

2. Corrective Action Plan (CAP)

  1. A CAPis a written strategy plan describing a course of mandatory TMA designed to improve a State's performance.

  2. Whenever a DDS' performance requires mandatory TMA, the RO will work with the DDS to develop a CAP prior to initiating a program of TMA.

  3. The DDS administratorand a parent agency representative will be involved in developing the CAP to the greatest extent possible.

  4. The CAP describesthe following:

    • reason(s) for poor performance;

    • action(s) necessary to improve performance (Federal or State actions);

    • timetable(s) for action(s); and

    • projected cost for the action(s).

3. Optional TMA

Optional TMAis available as a means of sustaining or improvinga DDS' performance.

  1. SSA may offer a DDS optional TMA:

    • when regular monitoring reveals performancehas declined significantly, or

    • when intermediate goalshave not been met, or

    • at its discretion based on available resources.

  2. A DDSmay requestoptional TMA regardless of its performance level if:

    • it is needed to improveor maintainan acceptablelevel of performance; or

    • there are strong indicatorsthe level of performance will decline without some assistance.

    • it is to promotethe objectivesof effective and uniformadministration of the disability program.

  3. Examples of situations for optional TMA are:

    • DDS experiences sudden lossof examiner positions, QA reviewers, and/or other essential personnel neede