Clark v. Astrue
(United States District Court/Southern District of New York)

The late Elaine Clark was the lead plaintiff in Clark v. Astrue, brought by Justice in Aging Directing Attorney Gerald McIntyre with Proskauer, Rose LLP and the Urban Justice Center of New York City.

Elaine Clark was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for several serious medical conditions, including end stage renal disease. In 1996 she was living in senior housing and receiving medical treatment when the Social Security Administration unlawfully stopped her benefits based on an outstanding warrant. The warrant was issued because she was in alleged violation of a condition of probation. Although there never was a finding she violated her probation, SSA ended her benefits anyway. The SSA based their action solely on finding her name on a national crime database. With no other income, she was about to be evicted from her home. She died in the hospital while the case was still pending and before she could be evicted.

This case stopped the Social Security Administration (SSA) from relying exclusively on outstanding probation and parole warrants as a basis for denying benefits to elderly and disabled people, and will result in the restoration of Social Security and SSI benefits to as many as 140,000 Americans as a result of an order issued by Judge Sidney H. Stein in a federal court in Manhattan on April 13, 2012. The benefits in question date back to October 2006 and may total $1 billion.

Update: SSA says it has now issued payments to essentially all those class members who were receiving Social Security benefits and expects to complete payments to all SSI class members by March 31, 2015.