SSA Adopts "Preponderance of the Evidence" Standard

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a final rule that applies the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, not the “substantial evidence” standard, to decisions made in claims at all levels of administrative review, including decisions made by an administrative law judge. 73 Fed. Reg. 76940 (Dec. 18, 2008) Preponderance of the evidence “means such relevant evidence that as a whole shows that the existence of the fact to be proven is more likely than not.” Substantial evidence “means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”

According to SSA, the rule clarifies, in regulations, that the preponderance of the evidence standard is used by all SSA adjudicators to decide claims. The substantial evidence standard is an appellate standard of review, used administratively by the Appeals Council and by federal courts when considering whether the agency’s findings are supported by substantial evidence.

Source: December 2008 Edition of Social Security Forun published by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR :: National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives)