The American Association of
Social Security Disability Consultants

A 501(c)(6) professional association
and nonprofit corporation.


The purpose of the American Association of Social Security Disability Consultants is to encourage excellence in Social Security disability consulting by physicians, psychologists, speech and language pathologists, vocational specialists and other professionals who serve as consultants for the Social Security Administration, and nationally, to express their views and support their needs.

If you are now or have been a consultant for the Social Security Administration, a State disability determination service, a hearing office, or any similar organization in the field of Social Security disability, and want to support this organization, we encourage you to become involved.   Click on the topics below to find out more.

Issues and Policy Statements

A Call for Community-Based Investigation of Disability Claims

Disability consultants have long been concerned about the poor quality of the information upon which they often have to base their decisions.   Evidence from several sources shows that the lack of good information leads to erroneous decisions in a substantial portion of cases.   Those who have not been able to get regular medical care are placed at a particular disadvantage in applying for disability benefits because their conditions have not been documented in medical records.

In the attached statement, the AASSDC calls for Congress to fund and the Social Security Administration to implement a program of careful community-based investigation of all initial disability claims.   Such a program would not only lead to more accurate decisions but also to an increase in early allowances, thereby avoiding the cost of adjudicating many cases beyond the initial decision.   It would also help to alleviate the backlog of cases awaiting decisions beyond the initial decision stage.   The statement is posted below (pdf file, 48Kb).


Governors in almost one-fourth of states have attempted to address their budgetary problems by furloughing state workers, including disability determination service (DDS) workers.   Because DDS workers are fully funded by the federal government, furloughing them does not provide any budgetary help to the states.   It does slow the processing of applications for disability benefits, forcing many disabled persons to endure the hardships of poverty while awaiting decisions.

The AASSDC opposes the furloughing of State DDS workers, as explained in the following policy statement.

Position on a Proposed Board Certification Requirement for Social Security Disability Consultants

In 2004 the Social Security Administration asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for advice on improving the Listing of Impairments and the use of medical expertise in the disability decision process.   In January 2006, without adequate medical and psychological consultant input, the IOM Committee released its Interim Report .   Among the Committee's recommendations was a recommendation that board certification be required of medical and psychological consultants.   Below is our response to the Interim Report (pdf file, 44Kb).   The final report contains similar recommendations.

We find a serious lack of understanding of the disability decision-making process on the part of the IOM's Committee, that most of the content of the board certification process, as commonly defined, is irrelevant to Social Security disability consulting and that some of the IOM Committee's recommendations would discriminate against a large number of well-qualified physicians and psychologists for reasons not supported by substantial evidence.

The text of the AASSDC Response (below) was originally written by Alan Cowles, M.D., Ph.D. and reviewed by a group of twelve consultants, of whom seven were board certified and one was board eligible.

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Last updated on 1/25/15_