Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Padro: Relief too little, too late

The Padro Class action law suit was supposed to bring relief do claimant's whose Social Security Disability ("SSD") claims were denied by the "Queens Five". Under the terms of the settlement, a class member whose claim for disability benefits was denied from January 1, 2008 through October 18, 2013 is entitled to a new hearing before an ALJ other than a Queens Five ALJ. I represent a claimant, whose Social Security Disability application was denied by ALJ Hoppenfeld on March 15, 2012. The Appeals Council remanded the matter back to ALJ Hoppenfeld on July 18, 2013. The case was eventually reassigned to another judge, as per the terms of the settlement. The hearing was held on October 23, 2014, more than a year after the AC remanded the case back to the Queens ODAR. 

The claimant's hearing was approved today, 6 months later. Unfortunately for the claimant, the decision came too late as he passed away this Sunday, still waiting for a decision. And the only reason a decision was reached today, was because my office left a message, advising the judge's assistant that the claimant had passed away. They didn't even have the decency to call me. 

The claimant had a 5th grade education, and worked his whole life as a contractor. His claim should have been approved the first time around, in 2011. He leaves behind a wife and children. Justice served, too little, too late.

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