SSA EM Addresses Relief in Non-Disability Appeal

Empire Justice Center October 31, 2019

On June 13, 2019, SSA issued Emergency Message EM-19013, Sharpe Court Order – Relief, addressing the relief ordered decades ago in the Sharpe v. Sullivan litigation.  EM-19013 has a retention date of October 31, 2019.

In July 1980, the district court in Sharpe issued an order providing relief to SSI claimants in New York State appealing a non-disability issue at the ALJ level.  The relief includes suspended collection of the overpayment, return of any recovered overpayments, and payment of interim benefits when the court-ordered processing time deadline of 90 days is not met.  The relief set forth in the Sharpe court order was originally outlined in HALLEX I-5-4-48, issued by SSA on May 26, 1995.

SSI claimants with ALJ level appeals pending for more than 90 days from the date of the hearing request may claim relief under Sharpe or they may opt out of receiving Sharpe benefits.  The recent emergency message instructs SSA staff in general handling of these cases.

Questions about the issue can be addressed to class counsel Michelle Spadafore at NYLAG.  Michelle can be reached at 212-613-5024 or mspadafore@nylag.org.