Thursday, August 11, 2022

Play

A new report says Georgia should step up for mothers and infants, Oregon communities force a polluter to shut down, and we have an update on the FBI's probe of Trump allies, including Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

Play

Inflation could be at a turning point, House members debate the expansion of the IRS, and former President Donald Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment in a deposition over his business practices.

Play

Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

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
The J.H. Baxter Co.'s wood mill was closed earlier this year after complaints that it had dumped cancer-causing toxins into the air and soil in nearby neighborhoods. (Crag Law Center)

Environment

A coalition of community organizations teamed up in Oregon to force a chronic polluter out of business, and bring environmental justice to a nearby …


Health and Wellness

During National Health Center Week, health-care advocates are highlighting the work Community Health Centers are doing to improve access to care …

Health and Wellness

Health advocates are hailing the new Inflation Reduction Act, saying it would be the biggest health-care reform since the Affordable Care Act…


Excessive heat kills more Americans than floods, extreme cold, or lightning by far. (New Africa/Adobestock)

Social Issues

As parts of Southern California suffer with triple-digit temperatures, state lawmakers are set to vote today on two bills to study and mitigate heat …

Social Issues

While abortion care is in the headlines, a new report says accessing other health-care services is a challenge for many women in Georgia. Data from …

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' update to the elk-management plan is expected to conclude in 2023. (Kyle T. Perry/Adobe Stock)

Environment

Hunters, landowners and wildlife managers are gathering in Montana to discuss the need for novel approaches to elk management. The 2022 Elk …

Environment

Next week, North Dakota landowners will get a chance to hear updates on a proposed underground pipeline for transporting and sequestering carbon …

Social Issues

With Virginia's Rent Relief Program ending, a flood of eviction cases has emerged. Established during the pandemic, the program was designed to help …

 

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