Justice Escalated: Constitution requires payment on appeal

Last September, a Delaware County woman informed the Social Security Administration (SSA) that she was expecting $14,000 in a personal injury settlement. She told them about it again during an annual eligibility review in January. She also explained she spent the settlement money and was still eligible for her monthly disability payment.She got a response in February – a letter saying her benefits would be suspended because she receives ongoing miscellaneous payments of $9,999 per month. But she has never received any such payments. And although it wasn’t yet baseball season, the AIDS Law Project went to bat for her with the SSA.We immediately appealed and requested ongoing payments until our client had a chance to present evidence rebutting the erroneous income. The field office refused, denying our client her constitutional rights to present her case before turning off her benefits. After a dozen phone calls and faxes escalating up the chain of command, an SSA district manager agreed to provide ongoing benefits to our client until her appeal was heard. We then won the appeal for ongoing benefits and set up a $10 per month payment plan for the few months she was overpaid.