If a disabled or elderly person receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there are income and resource restrictions as a condition for eligibility. When two SSI recipients are married, the monthly benefit is lower than it would be to two unmarried individuals. Until the Defense of Marriage Act (D.O.M.A.) was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor in 2013, a same sex couple who were married under the law of their State were still treated as two unmarried persons. This meant they received higher benefits than married SSI recipients would have received. After that ruling however, SSI began issuing overpayment notices to such couples. As the individuals receiving SSI are poor, this created tremendous hardship. A class action was filed by Justice in Aging, a nonprofit legal services organization,(formerly called the National Senior Citizens Law Center) called Held v. Colvin, to enjoin the SSA from imposing reimbursement obligations for such alleged overpayments.
The Social Security Administration has just issued an Emergency Order prohibiting the regional SS offices from issuing overpayment notices in these cases from May 6th through October 15th, 2015. If you or anyone you know is facing this issue, contact Justice in Aging immediately at 202-289-6976 or http://justiceinaging.org/contact/.
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