FIT No Longer Fit?

Empire Justice April 16, 2014

Rumors reported in the December 2103 Disability Law News are now confirmed: FIT – or “Findings Integrated Template” – is no more.  Representatives will no longer be able to submit proposed findings of fact and decisional language.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has amended HALLEX temporary instruction (TI) I-5-1-17 to incorporate new instructions because the “FIT for Representatives” software is no longer available. http://ssa.gov/OP_Home/hallex/TS/tsi-5-117-3.html

FIT encompasses more than just proposed findings by representatives.  It is also a hearing decision template instituted to address quality issues in ALJ decisions, notably legal error or poorly articulated rationale.  In addition to FIT, SSA has been piloting eBB – Electronic Bench Book – as another policy-compliant web-based tool to aid in documenting, analyzing, and adjudicating a disability case in accordance with agency policy.  This is another “electronic tool to improve quality, accuracy, and consistency throughout the disability evaluation process.”  See the October 13, 2014 Testimony of Chief ALJ Debra Bice at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/legislation/testimony_100713.html.