Alan Nussbaum Comment

The only way to make the programs work well together is to make the process adversarial and allow individuals to have a face to face hearing as early as the reconsideration level.Another possibility is to do away with reconsideration and allow individuals to have a face to face hearing after being denied benefits.The government should be represented at any hearing.Since the Appeals Council allows or remands so few cases perhaps the money used to fund it could be put to better use by allowing the filing of a lawsuit in District Court after a claim has been denied by an administrative law judge.If a case is remanded by the District Court the government still retains the option of an appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals.