The Social Security Administration May Have to Pay Back Benefits Stopped or Denied Because of Probation or Parole Arrest Warrants
For millions of seniors, Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is their only income. In the past, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could stop paying benefits to someone who had a warrant for a parole or probation violation. The SSA did not look at whether the person actually violated parole or probation. In many cases, the warrant was based on a minor violation or something easily resolved.
A national class action lawsuit stopped the SSA from continuing this practice. In a case in New York, Clark v. Astrue, the Court created a nationwide group of people who were affected by the SSA's practice. This group may now get money paid back to them.
Everyone in the United States who could not get Social Security or SSI benefits because of a parole or probation warrant on or after October 29, 2006, is protected by this case. According to the National Senior Citizens Law Center tens of thousands of people could be affected. The amount of money owed to this group may be hundreds of millions of dollars. If you applied for Social Security or SSI benefits on or after October 29, 2006, and are waiting for a decision, you cannot be denied benefits based only on a probation or parole warrant.
If you applied for Social Security or SSI benefits and were denied benefits on or after October 29, 2006, or benefits were stopped on or after October 29, 2006, based on a probation or parole warrant, you may now be able to get benefits or have benefits paid back to you. If you believe this new rule applies to you, contact the SSA and give them your current address so you receive notice if you are owed money.
You can call the Social Security Administration at: 1.800.772.1213 TTY users should call 1.800.325.0778
This FAQ was a story in Volume 28, Issue 1 of "The Alert" - a newsletter for seniors published by Legal Aid. Click here to read the full issue.