NYLAG Files Class Action on SSI Resource Issue

Empire Justice Center October 31, 2018

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) filed a class action against the Social Security Administration (SSA) challenging an administrative practice that regularly results in the loss of benefits to eligible Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. The case is Ershtyn v. Berryhill, 1:18- cv-04872, filed in the Eastern District of New York on August 27, 2018.


The complaint alleges that SSA wrongfully terminates or reduces plaintiffs’ SSI benefits when SSA incorrectly counts a recipient’s early deposited benefits as a “resource” available to the recipient. SSI benefits are generally paid on the first of the month by direct deposit into a recipient’s bank account. Four times a year, when the first of the month falls on a weekend or a holiday, SSI benefits are paid a day or two early. In those months, SSA mistakenly treats countless recipients’ benefits as a resource for the coming month—even though federal law and SSA policies prohibit them from doing so. In some circumstances, this can lead to SSA incorrectly suspending benefits or asserting that beneficiaries have been overpaid.


The class is described as “current and future recipients of Supplemental Security Income whose benefits have been or will be terminated or recouped, or threatened to be terminated or recouped, due to alleged excess resources resulting from SSA’s unlawful counting of Early Deposited Benefits as an available resource.”


Individuals who believe they or their clients have been affected can contact NYLAG attorney Michelle Spadafore at 212-613-5024.