SOJ occurs when an adjudicator comes to a different determination than a prior adjudicator after reviewing the same evidence and:
the determinations are equally supportable based on the evidence in the folder, and
the previous adjudicator has fully documented the folder.
The term “determination” means medical assessment (including severity and residual functional capacity (RFC)), vocational assessment, medical-vocational assessment, or determination of disabled or not disabled.
The term “support” or “supportable” means conforming to the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program policy and procedures.
When reviewing the CPD evidence during the CDR, the current adjudicator must be aware of the SOJ concept as a review principle and must not substitute his or her own judgment by attempting to re-adjudicate the case or intentionally search for a Group I prior error.
Even though the CPD folder has complete and accurate documentation, the evidence in the folder supports the determination, and the determination complies with SSA policy; the CPD adjudicator and the CDR adjudicator may arrive at opposite, equally supportable conclusions. In such situations, the CDR adjudicator must not substitute his or her judgment for that of the CPD adjudicator.