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Social Security Hit with Class Action

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Norwell, MADealing with government can be frustrating. Just ask any of the approximately 3 million Americans who deal with the Social Security Administration (SSA) every year, or attorney Victor Arruda who handles thousands of social security claims for Americans across the US.

And a recent change to the way SSA handles those claims, argues Arruda, is not only "unreasonable and onerous," it contravenes the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act, further aggravating the situation.

"Just read the class-action complaint we filed and you'll ask yourself 'what the hell are these people doing?' says Arruda. "We felt a court intervention was the only way to deal with this."

Routine requests for access to his clients' social security information file have been regularly obstructed, even though Arruda is making a legal request as instructed by a client.

"A year ago, our local office told us, you need to go to the social security in the jurisdiction where your client lives to get this information," says an incredulous Arruda, whose clients are spread across the country. "It used to take 45 minutes to get information on 900 clients," he adds. "Think about how long it will take for information on one client."

Not only that, the SSA office was asking for a fee of $45 per request. "I could pass this cost on to the client," says Arruda.
"But wait a second here. These records belong to the clients. I represent those clients. Those records belong to them and should be free of charge."


Data entry errors often cost claimants money. Interestingly, it is often Arruda and his team that identify those errors and, as he notes, "that keeps a lot of people off those toll-free telephone lines and out of the social security offices." Blocking attorney access to their clients' files means those errors go unnoticed with disastrous consequences.

"One of our clients was over paid!" says Arruda. "She got $64,000 when she was only supposed to receive $37,000."

"By the time we caught the mistake, she had spent 80 percent of the overage. Now they are going after her and she is pretty ticked off," says Arruda.

"The SSA's failure to provide attorneys with access to information hinders the correct and timely administration of Social Security benefits," says the class-action complaint.

It asks that SSA expedite the information and provide injunction relief.


Victor Arruda is an attorney with the Social Security Law Firm based in Massachusetts. Arruda has been working to help people with social security claims for 15 years.

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Reader Comments

Posted by

on
I been disable since Sept 2011, Social Security has all my medical records and still denied me my civil rights to collect my disability. I have even been denied the Appeals council level now looking for file a suit against the Social Security disability administration. I think its because of my education I have a 4 year degree pre -law major with a minor in computers.

I am sure this is why..
I am unable to work due to my medical conditions.

Posted by

on
I been disable since Sept 2011, Social Security has all my medical records and still denied me my civil rights to collect my disability. I have even been denied the Appeals council level now looking for file a suit against the Social Security disability administration. I think its because of my education I have a 4 year degree pre -law major with a minor in computers.

I am sure this is why..
I am unable to work due to my medical conditions.

Posted by

on
I had to wait 15 years for my disability case to be settled. Imagine if I didn't have a husband that worked that helped in supporting me.

Posted by

on
I have a major problem. I was on SSD and in Oct 2010 that was my 2 year magic number, but it was not so magical. I have insurance from the company I worked for. Why get medicare when I have insurance? The lady at SS told me? She agreed that I could take Part A and refuse Part B. She told me how to check the block, mail the card back to medicare after all it costs over 100.00 a month for Part B.
I have diabetes and chronic pain in my legs feet and back. I went to get my blood work . A few weeks later I get a bill for $505 and a note says if you would have had Part B it would have paid this bill but since I did not I owe this amount. It has taken 10 different phone calls to get this straightened out and I am still nowhere. I cannot enroll till 2012! What can I do to go back to Oct and and pay from Oct till now and get my PART B They said I did not have to sign up for? Please someone help/ God Bless

Posted by

on
I have to been through this its bull you work for this and pay in . and when you do get it they want monies for this and that copy of history. also if you lose a spouse they give a third of there earnings . when it says up to 80%and then they round of to the low end where does this all go ????

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