Thanks to the efforts of NSCLC, class members in the Clark v. Astrue case who lost their Medicare Part B benefits when their Social Security benefits were stopped and they could no longer pay the premium will be able to have their Medicare Part B benefits restored without having to pay the lifetime premium penalty. They will be able to choose between reinstatement for future months only or full reinstatement back to the date their coverage stopped. If they choose retroactive reinstatement they will be required to pay the premiums for that period, but will be able to arrange for affordable payment plans.
The Clark case was brought by the National Senior Citizens Law Center together with the law firm of Proskauer Rose, LLP, which provided its services on a pro bono basis, and the Urban Justice Center in New York. The case against the Social Security Administration, which took over five years to litigate, challenged its practice of relying exclusively on outstanding probation and parole warrants as sufficient evidence that someone was violating a condition of probation or parole and denying benefits.
A federal court in New York certified a nationwide plaintiff class of approximately 140,000 people, which includes everyone who lost Social Security or SSI benefits because of the practice on or after October 24, 2006, or who had an appeal pending on or after that date. The court ordered that the policy no longer be applied and that benefits be restored retroactively to the 140,000 class members.
In June, the Social Security Administration issued the outlines of an implementation plan to comply with the federal court’s order.