The following is a compilation of all recommendations made by the committee in the interim reports.
DISABILITY EVALUATION STUDY DESIGN
First Interim Report
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 populations 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 interviews, the Social Security Administration should use a multiple frame design of a statistically optimum mix of the 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.
THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S DISABILITY DECISION PROCESS: A FRAMEWORK FOR RESEARCH
Second Interim Report
RECOMMENDATION 4–1. The committee recommends that early in the redesign effort, the Social Security Administration should specify how it will define, measure, and assess the criteria it will use to evaluate the current disability determination process, as well as any alternative processes being developed.
RECOMMENDATION 4–2. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration develop an alternative plan for use of functional assessment measures in the disability decision process in the event that the proposed global, standardized, functional assessment measure is not developed and tested in time for implementation.
RECOMMENDATION 4–3. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration develop an interim plan for an occupational classification system in the event that the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database is either not completed or insufficient to meet the needs of a new disability decision process.
RECOMMENDATION 4–4. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration conduct baseline studies on the role of the evaluation of vocational factors in the current decision-making process and the effects of these factors on the populations of claimants and beneficiaries.
RECOMMENDATION 4–5. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration reconsider the timeframe for completion of the redesign research so that the necessary questions can be answered in an appropriately sequenced and coordinated manner.
RECOMMENDATION 4–6. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration establish a cognitive laboratory for the Disability Evaluation Study, disability decision process research, and for other purposes of the agency.
RECOMMENDATION 4–7. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration actively engage process engineering experts (such as industrial engineers, operations researchers) to
evaluate and improve the Social Security Administration’s disability benefits administrative process to assure that task assignments and participant roles achieve a maximum level of effectiveness and efficiency.
RECOMMENDATION 4–8. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration develop plans for simulation and modeling of alternative disability decision processes and other policy options, and devote adequate resources for this activity.
RECOMMENDATION 5–1. The committee recommends that the Social Security Administration’s research and evaluation staff and its extramural research program be expanded substantially.
REVIEW OF THE DISABILITY EVALUATION STUDY DESIGN
Third Interim Report
RECOMMENDATION: The committee strongly recommends that SSA revise the project schedule to allow significantly more time to plan and analyze the pilot study and test alternative solutions for problem areas before starting the national study.