On March 19, 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a decision in Clark v. Astrue, concluding that the agency’s practice of relying solely on outstanding probation or parole violation arrest warrants to suspend or deny benefits conflicted with the plain meaning of the Social Security Act. Because of that decision, the agency stopped suspending or denying title II benefits and title XVI payments to individuals based solely on an outstanding probation or parole violation warrant for individuals who resided in New York, Connecticut, or Vermont. On March 18, 2011, the District Court of the Southern District of New York certified a nationwide class for Clark v. Astrue.
On May 9, 2011, an Emergency Message was broadcast to Regional Commissioner’s offices, field offices, teleservice centers, program support centers, among others, directing that effective immediately, the agency will no longer suspend or deny title II benefits or title XVI payments to individuals residing anywhere in the United States based solely on an outstanding probation or parole violation warrant with any of the following offense codes:
· 5011 – Parole violation
· 5012 – Probation violation
· 8101 – Juvenile offenders – abscond while on parole
· 8102 – Juvenile offenders – abscond while on probation
· 9999 – With an offense charge symbol of “probation or parole violation.
· “Blank” – With an offense charge symbol of “probation or parole violation.
Warrants with the above offense codes are no longer entered into the automated nonpayment processes, but there will be cases in the hearing and appeals pipeline that have been suspended or denied for these reasons.
If an appeal is pending on the probation or parole violation suspension or denial at the hearing level, the Administrative Law Judge should not suspend or deny title II benefits or title XVI payments based solely on an outstanding arrest warrant for violating a condition of probation or parole.
NOTE: The Martinez Settlement addressed outstanding felony arrest warrants, not probation or parole violation warrants. Continue to comply with the Martinez Settlement with respect to fugitive felon suspensions and denials.
If you have any further questions, please direct them to your RO support staff. The RO support staff may refer questions or unresolved issues to their Headquarters contacts.