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CDRs Take Spotlight To Reduce Disability Costs

2015 February 6
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by Steve Perrigo

The Social Security Administration’s budget estimates for fiscal year 2016 and the Social Security Advisory Board’s report, “2014 Disability Policy Panel: Continuing Disability Reviews,” both highlight increasing emphasis on CDRs as a pivotal method for producing savings for the disability benefits program as the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund nears exhaustion.

The SSAB’s report examined the factors that led to the 1.3 million backlog of overdue CDRs and an estimated $42.8 billion in lost savings that resulted. The SSA uses medical CDRs to determine whether disability beneficiaries continue to be disabled and should continue receiving benefits.  The SSAB found the average return on investment (ROI) for CDRs conducted in fiscal year 2012 was $9 for every $1 invested.  

Coinciding with this report, the SSA’s own budget estimates outlined plans to complete 790,000 CDRs in FY 2015 and 908,000 CDRs in FY 2016—significantly higher than 526,000 full medical CDRs completed in FY 2014. With dedicated, mandatory funding, the SSA reported, it anticipates eliminating the CDR backlog by the end of 2019.

SSAB’s panel also outlined several recommendations to Congress, including mandatory funding for CDRs, keeping the current medical review standards used by the SSA, and investing in other types of fraud detection.

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