Last month, the Social Security Administration issued a notice alerting Social Security Disability applicants and benefit recipients of a fairly significant change to its procedures. Starting immediately, the SSA will no longer suspend or deny Social Security benefit payments or deny SSD applications on the basis of a probation or parole violation.
This change began in March of 2010 with a ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In Clark v. Astrue, the court found that the SSA's practice of relying solely on an outstanding arrest warrant for a probation or parole violation in order to justify a denial or suspension of benefits conflicted with the plain meaning of the Social Security Act. Because that case was decided in the second circuit, however, it only affected SSD recipients and applicants in Vermont, Connecticut and New York.
But in March of this year, that case was remanded to the District Court for the Southern District of New York, which certified a nationwide class that includes all applicants or recipients whose benefits were suspended or denied because of a probation or parole violation on or after October 29, 2006. With the class certification, the ruling now covers SSD recipients in California and throughout the country.
The ruling extends to all stages of the administrative appeals process as well to current and future applications. The SSA has not determined if and how it will apply the policy change retroactively to those who were denied under the old rule. If this information becomes available, we will be sure to update our blog accordingly.
Source: National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, " SSA Announces Policy Change on Probation/Parole Warrants," 27 May 2011