SOJ occurs when an adjudicator conducting a CDR 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 their own judgment by attempting to re-adjudicate the case or intentionally
search for a Group I prior error exception.
When the CPD folder has complete and accurate documentation, the evidence in the folder
supports the determination, and the determination complies with SSA policy; but the
CDR adjudicator arrives at an opposite yet equally supportable conclusion, the CDR
adjudicator must not substitute their judgment for that of the CPD adjudicator.