The Virtual Screening Unit is a stage in some Social Security Disability cases between Reconsideration and the Hearing. A Senior Attorney will review the claim and determine whether a decision can be made “on the record” without the need to have the hearing. The good news is that you cannot be denied at this level. If you are approved, you win. If the VSU attorney determines that an on-the-record determination cannot be made, then you continue on to the hearing.
“We are building upon the success of our senior attorney adjudicators this fiscal year by deploying a Virtual Screening Unit (VSU) of 100 senior attorney adjudicators to assist our most heavily backlogged hearing offices. These senior attorney adjudicators who are from hearing offices throughout the country screen electronic cases and write favorable decisions that result from the screening. The VSU started screening cases in November 2009 and went into full production in January 2010. So far, the VSU has screened 19,547 cases and issued 5,757 favorable decisions, while referring 239 cases to ALJs for favorable decisions. The VSU’s work has resulted in fewer remands to the already burdened Disability Determination Services. The VSU has assisted 43 hearing offices.”