RECOMMENDATION 3-1. The committee strongly endorses the conduct by the Social Security Administration of a well-designed, carefully pretested, and statistically sound Disability Evaluation Study.
RECOMMENDATION 3-2. The committee recommends that the current stage 1 and pilot study be merged, expanded, and extended into a research, development, and testing phase of the survey with application to samples of the type that are more traditionally used in methods testing. Only when the development and refinement of the functional assessment instruments, survey operations, and other issues are tested and resolved should a national sample survey be launched using a single protocol.
RECOMMENDATION 3-3. The committee recommends that the national survey should be conducted with one sample large enough to estimate the sizes of the population at risk with acceptable levels of statistical precision.
RECOMMENDATION 3-4. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration use relevant data from the national Health Interview Survey Disability Supplement, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and other relevant surveys to assist in developing the sample design, survey operation, and questionnaire content for the Disability Evaluation Study.
RECOMMENDATION 4-5. The committee recommends that the Disability Evaluation Study be based on a design offering full coverage of the U.S. household population of adults. If resources are lacking to mount an area probability sample using face-to-face interview, the Social Security Administration should use a multiple frame design of a statistically optimum mix of general population followed by face-to-face interviews of the eligible population.
RECOMMENDATION 4-6. The committee recommends that once the options for using different combinations of team composition and origin, examination setting, and other dimensions are sufficiently set for assessments, a formal field experiment should be performed during the research, development, and testing phase of the survey to determine the validity and reproducibility of these options as well as the most cost-effective approach to meeting the objectives of the survey.
RECOMMENDATION 4-7. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration require in the scope of work a rigorously designed experiment in the field testing and development phase of the survey to identify mechanisms for enhancing participation in the Disability Evaluation Study, to guide decisions on the use of home examination for those unable to travel to an examination site, to establish the validity of the measures obtained, and to assess the quality of the medical evidence of record.
RECOMMENDATION 4-8. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration enhance the safeguards of matched data according to accepted practices by employing procedures used in recent federal surveys and that it take into consideration the effect of such procedures on response rates.