(NEW YORK, NY) May 4, 2020: New York Legal Assistance a Group (NYLAG) filed suit (Ershteyn v. Berryhill) against the Social Security Administration (SSA) on August 27, 2018, to correct an unlawful error that counted early-deposited benefits against recipients’ asset limits. As a result, recipients were incorrectly found to be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The suit was finalized on April 30, 2020, and formally terminated May 4, 2020. SSA has agreed to implement a technological fix to its antiquated systems that will not allow technicians to proceed with a case when they make this unlawful error. As a result, no SSI recipient will be wrongfully denied for this reason going forward.
This error occurs four times per year when the first of a month falls on a weekend or holiday, SSA deposits recipients’ benefits early. SSA was counting the early-deposited benefits against the recipients’ asset limits, and incorrectly finding the recipient to be ineligible for SSI because he or she supposedly has too much money. This was resulting in wrongful termination or recoupment of benefits for SSI recipients who are seniors or people with disabilities.
“NYLAG brought this case against the Social Security Administration because its payment error adversely affected those who rely on SSI to afford their basic needs such as food expenses and medication co-pays,” said Beth Goldman, NYLAG President & Attorney-in-Charge. “The failure to correct this administrative glitch was harmful to vulnerable populations like seniors, people with disabilities, and those with low-income. We are gratified that SSA has resolved this matter by correcting their error, and we will work to ensure they continue to fulfill their legal obligations to their recipients.”
Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is a leading not-for-profit civil legal services organization advocating for adults, children, and families that are experiencing poverty or have low income. We tackle the legal challenges and systematic barriers that threaten our clients’ economic stability, well-being, and safety. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and constantly improving how we respond to systemic issues of racism that affect our clients in their pursuit of justice. We address emerging and urgent needs with comprehensive, free civil legal services, direct representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, financial counseling, medical-legal partnerships, and community education and partnerships. Last year, we affected the lives of 90,800 people. Learn more at nylag.org.