Sunday, May 22, 2022

Play

The election fraud movement resurfaces on the campaign trail, Vice President Harris and abortion providers discuss an action plan, and as New Mexico's wildfires rage, nearby states face high fire danger.

Play

Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senate Primary still too close to call, a $40 billion Ukraine aid bill is headed to President Biden's desk, and Oklahoma passes the strictest abortion bill in the country.

Play

From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

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
Over the past two years, pro-democracy groups say more than 30 states have proposed nearly 230 laws viewed as an attempt to undermine elections. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Examples of proposed policies and candidates tied to false claims of election fraud have spread to Minnesota, and a new national report found the …


Environment

New Mexico continues to battle the largest wildfires in its history, and other states including Nevada, along with parts of Arizona and Colorado…

Social Issues

A new museum exhibition in Baltimore opening to the public today aims to tell the story of Maryland's fight for civil rights, both in the past and …


The Federation of Virginia Food Banks' seven regional food banks distributed approximately 165 million pounds of food in 2021. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Virginia's food banks are facing a perfect storm of issues. High inflation for everyday goods is driving up food costs for lower-income families…

Health and Wellness

Vice President Kamala Harris met with abortion providers from Missouri and other restrictive states Thursday to consider ways the Biden administration…

The fatality rate for Black bike riders is 30% higher than for white bike riders, according to the League of American Bicyclists. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Today is National Bike to Work Day, and while it may sound "easier said than done," it may not be as daunting as you think. Enthusiasts said the …

Environment

Connecticut is celebrating its first estuary reserve, which will help identify environmental threats to waterways and natural resources. …

Health and Wellness

A new report urges states to take steps to minimize Medicaid coverage loss when the state of emergency for the pandemic comes to an end. COVID …

 

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