The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Consumer Handout re Martinez Settlement

Date: 
12/09/2009
Author: 
Justice in Aging

Update from the National Senior Citizen's Law Center (NSCLC) (now called Jusitice in Aging)  on the settlement implementation in Martinez v. Astrue.

Did Social Security Stop Your Benefits Because You Had an Arrest Warrant?

You may be able to start your benefits again. You may also be able to get thousands of dollars in back benefits. A class action lawsuit settlement says

  • Social Security cannot deny or stop benefits because of most outstanding arrest warrants.
  • Social Security must stop collecting overpayments based on most outstanding warrant

For 80,000 people, Social Security must pay back all benefits that it didn't pay or that it collected as overpayments. These benefits may total over $500 million dollars.

Many people can get their benefits back.

Over 200,000 people could be helped by this lawsuit, which is called Martinez v. Astrue.

These are the benefits you can get back:

  • Social Security
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Special Veterans Benefits (SVB)

IMPORTANT: This case will not help you if: 

  • You were convicted and sentenced for a crime and violated your probation or parole.
  • You have an outstanding warrant for flight and/or escape (very rare).

Make sure Social Security pays you the back benefits it owes you. 

Social Security will send notices to class members. Make sure Social Security has your current address. People who received Social Security (not SSI or SVB) can update their address online at www.socialsecurity.gov/changeofaddress

If  you received SSI benefits, you should visit your local Social Security office and ask them to put your name, ddress, Social Security number and phone number on the "Martinez list."

To learn more visit www.justiceinaging.org/our-work/litigation/martinez-v-astrue-litigation/.... Or visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov/martinezsettlement.

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