Thursday, December 2, 2021

Play

Michiganders mourn the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and SCOTUS Justices signal willingness to back a Mississippi abortion prohibition law.

Play

The Supreme Court debates abortion rights; Stacey Abrams will again run to be Georgia's governor; and Congress scrambles to avoid a shutdown.

Play

Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

NY Suit Contests Social Security Closures, Changes

Play

Tuesday, October 5, 2021   

NEW YORK -- Disability advocates and other groups are suing the federal government over the Social Security Administration's practices during the pandemic, including shuttering its local offices.

The challenge was filed on behalf of five New Yorkers who utilize Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which helps low-income older adults and people with disabilities.

In March 2020, Social Security, which administers SSI, closed all of its offices, making it difficult for recipients to report any financial changes. Six months later, the agency started to send notices to thousands of people telling them their benefits were going to be reduced due to overpayment, without giving them a meaningful chance to contest it.

Kate Lang, senior staff attorney for Justice in Aging, which represents the plaintiffs, said the office closure left many vulnerable people in the dark.

"People have difficulty communicating with Social Security and saying, 'This is a mistake. I'm still eligible for these benefits. I shouldn't be cut off,'" Lang explained. "We think that Social Security needs to recognize that the pandemic continues."

The federal government has 60 days from filing to respond to the lawsuit. Other organizations involved in the case include New York Legal Assistance Group and Arnold & Porter.

The suit also raised concerns over Social Security's streamlined waiver process, implemented in August 2020, which was meant to forgive financial penalties for overpayment during the first few months of the pandemic.

Danielle Tarantolo, director of the special litigation unit at New York Legal Assistance Group, said the waiver failed to address the pandemic-related SSI issues.

"Our clients tried repeatedly to take advantage of this streamlined process and get a quick waiver so that they could maintain their full benefits and over and over again, they were unsuccessful," Tarantolo recounted.

Representatives for the New York SSI recipients said they hope the lawsuit leads to Social Security revamping the waiver process to make sure that everyone who deserves one can get it. Social Security offices around the country remain closed to the public, except for emergency situations.

Disclosure: Justice in Aging contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Civil rights groups are pushing Baltimore County to create a second majority Black council district to better represent its diverse population. (Flickr)

Social Issues

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …


Social Issues

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nearly seven in ten Americans say billionaires are not paying their fair share in taxes, according to a new survey. Among likely …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Over the coming weeks, North Dakotans will be clicking the "purchase" button as they order holiday gifts online, and fraud experts …


Front-line pandemic workers in Minnesota feel the state is failing them in recognizing them for their work during the crisis, as they were not allowed to work remotely. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- Several regional labor groups rallied in Minneapolis on Wednesday, demanding state leaders take action to reflect the sacrifices made …

Environment

GREENE, Iowa -- The proposed Build Back Better bill is getting attention for a host of funding possibilities, including one area flying under the …

The Republican-created legislative and congressional maps, passed by the Wisconsin Legislature in November, were quickly vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers, teeing up a legal battle. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MADISON, Wis. -- In a four-three decision this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court backed a "least-change" approach to redistricting in the state…

Social Issues

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Michiganders are mourning the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and advocates …

Social Issues

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Labor protests and strikes are on the upswing this fall, compared with 2020 when everyone hunkered as the pandemic closed …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021