Professors Bloch, Lubbers, and Verkuil have performed a yeomen’s service in advising the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) on reforming the process for administrative decision making and appeals. In a well-balanced article for this Symposium, the professors generally praise the Commissioner’s new Disability Service Improvement (DSI) process, which SSA will phase in starting with claims filed on or after August 1, 2006, in SSA Region I. The professors also note their disagreements with and reservations regarding certain aspects of the DSI plan.
I wish I were as optimistic as Professors Bloch, Lubbers, and Verkuil as to the expected benefits of the DSI process. Certain aspects of the new process are undoubtedly beneficial. However, if DSI is ever fully implemented in its current form nationwide, one particular aspect of the plan—eliminating a claimant’s right to seek administrative review of a wholly or partially unfavorable administrative law judge (ALJ) decision—is cause for great concern.
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