May 25, 2010

Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (3481P)

Proposed Rule
Summary

Score: 7 / 60

Additional details
Agency
Social Security Administration
Regulatory Identification Number
0960-AG61
Agency Name
Social Security Administration
Rule Publication Date
11/10/2008
Comment Closing Date
01/09/2009

RULE SUMMARY

We propose to amend our rules to clarify that the agency is responsible for setting the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Consistent with our regulations at lower levels of the administrative process, we propose to use ‘‘we’’ or ‘‘us’’ in the rules setting the time and place for a hearing. These changes will ensure greater flexibility in scheduling hearings both in person and via video
teleconferencing and will aid us in our effort to increase efficiency in the hearing process and reduce the number of pending hearings. The number of cases awaiting a hearing has reached historic proportions, and efforts toward greater efficiency are critical to addressing this problem.

METHODOLOGY

There are twelve criteria within our evaluation within three broad categories: Openness, Analysis and Use. For each criterion, the evaluators assign a score ranging from 0 (no useful content) to 5 (comprehensive analysis with potential best practices). Thus, each analysis has the opportunity to earn between 0 and 60 points.

Criterion Score

Openness

1. How easily were the RIA , the proposed rule, and any supplementary materials found online?
It was fairly easy to find once it was apparent that the RIA was within the regulation itself. Therefore, the RIA can be found on regulations.gov using RIN and opening the regulation (four clicks). An abbreviated version of the rule (but not the RIA) could easily found on the agency website by putting the RIN in the search box.
3/5
2. How verifiable are the data used in the analysis?
There is little evidence that the RIA even used data, or very little data was used.
0/5
3. How verifiable are the models and assumptions used in the analysis?
There is no evidence that the agency did any research to identify plausible models or assumptions.
0/5
4. Was the analysis comprehensible to an informed layperson?
The results or conclusion is clear, but the reader cannot understand how the analysis arrived at that conclusion—we don't know how the estimates were formed.
1/5

Analysis

5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them?
0/5
Does the analysis clearly identify ultimate outcomes that affect citizens’ quality of life?
The basic point is that the backlog of cases prevents timely hearings, but the RIA does not ever relate this to citizens' quality of life.
1/5
Does the analysis identify how these outcomes are to be measured?
Only in a vague way—the analysis references clearing the backlog.
1/5
Does the analysis provide a coherent and testable theory showing how the regulation will produce the desired outcomes?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the outcomes?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve?
0/5
Does the analysis identify a market failure or other systemic problem?
The analysis never explicitly mentions why the backlog is occurring; it does say that the backlog is exacerbated by conflict with medical and vocational experts' and hearing recorders' schedules.
1/5
Does the analysis outline a coherent and testable theory that explains why the problem (associated with the outcome above) is systemic rather than anecdotal?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the existence or size of the problem?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches?
0/5
Does the analysis enumerate other alternatives to address the problem?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Is the range of alternatives considered narrow (e.g., some exemptions to a regulation) or broad (e.g., performance-based regulation vs. command and control, market mechanisms, nonbinding guidance, information disclosure, addressing any government failures that caused the original problem)?
Only one option is considered.
0/5
Does the analysis evaluate how alternative approaches would affect the amount of the outcome achieved?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis adequately address the baseline? That is, what the state of the world is likely to be in the absence of federal intervention not just now but in the future?
The analysis is Inadequate.
0/5
8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits?
0/5
Does the analysis identify and quantify incremental costs of all alternatives considered?
The analysis very cursorily examines costs but not incremental costs.
0/5
Does the analysis identify all expenditures likely to arise as a result of the regulation?
The analysis weakly identifies cost to the administration but not to the affected judges.
1/5
Does the analysis identify how the regulation would likely affect the prices of goods and services?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis examine costs that stem from changes in human behavior as consumers and producers respond to the regulation?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
If costs are uncertain, does the analysis present a range of estimates and/or perform a sensitivity analysis?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis identify the alternative that maximizes net benefits?
Only one approach is considered.
0/5
Does the analysis identify the cost-effectiveness of each alternative considered?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would bear costs and assess the incidence of costs?
It conducts a perfunctory analysis of who bears costs that fails to mention the actual costs of forcing judges' scheduling to be run by SSA.
1/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would receive benefits and assess the incidence of benefits?
The analysis assumes cases would move faster and benefit Social Security recipients.
2/5

Use

9. Does the proposed rule or the RIA present evidence that the agency used the analysis?
The agency acknowledges that the RIA exists but makes no claim to use it, and there is no evidence that it was used except to demonstrate total cost.
1/5
10. Did the agency maximize net benefits or explain why it chose another alternative?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to track the regulation's results in the future?
No explicit measures or goals are stated other than a claim that the agency will monitor the success of the regulation without specifying details.
1/5
12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to assess the regulation's performance in the future and establish provisions for doing so?
The agency says, "We will also monitor the success of this regulation on an agency wide basis to ensure that it does not produce unintended consequences." This implicitly might mean that the data used would be the number of hearings in the backlog, but this isn't stated.
1/5
 
Total 7 / 60