Citations:

Grant v. Commissioner of Social Security United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

BASIC (08-03)

DI 52530.001 Grant v. Commissioner of Social Security Settlement Agreement

A. Introduction

1. Stipulation and order

On February 7, 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania approved a settlement order in Grant v. Commissioner of Social Security. The order defined the class to include all applicants for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, or both, who, received an adverse decision from Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Russell Rowell (subsequently referred to as the “subject ALJ”) on or after January 1, 1985, and all disability claimants whose claims were assigned to the subject ALJ for a decision.

NOTE: The subject ALJ died in 1994.

2. Plaintiffs' counsel

The plaintiffs' counsel is:

  • Larry E. Norton, II

  • Peter Zurflieh

    Community Justice Project
    118 Locust Street
    Harrisburg, PA 17101

    Telephone: 1- 800-322-7572, extension 217

B. Policy

Individuals who meet the criteria in DI 52530.001B.1. will have the opportunity to request a review of their prior claim(s).

1. Class members eligible for relief

Subject to the exclusions in DI 52530.001B.2., Grant class members eligible for relief include all individuals:

  1. Who filed a claim for disability benefits pursuant to title II and/or title XVI of the Social Security Act; and

  2. Who requested a hearing before an ALJ on that claim or any issues arising from that claim; and

  3. Whose request was dismissed by or who received less than a fully favorable decision on the claim from the subject ALJ; and

  4. Whose dismissal or decision by the subject ALJ was dated on or after January 1, 1985.

2. Exclusions

An individual is not eligible for Grant relief if the individual:

  1. successfully appealed an adverse decision of the subject ALJ and ultimately received all of the benefits sought in the claim before the subject ALJ; or

  2. appealed an adverse decision of the subject ALJ and was granted a remand for a new hearing before another ALJ based on the same claim that was considered by the subject ALJ; or

  3. did not appeal an adverse decision of the subject ALJ, but later reapplied and was found eligible or ineligible for disability benefits (on the merits and not on res judicata grounds) on a subsequent application and the subsequent application covered the same time period that was covered by the application considered by the subject ALJ.

3. Level of review

Class members eligible for relief will have their claim(s) redetermined at the ALJ level. A redetermination consists of a de novo evaluation of a class member's eligibility for benefits based on all evidence in his or her file, including newly obtained evidence, relevant to the period at issue in the administrative determination(s) that forms the basis for the claimant's class membership. If the redetermination results in a favorable decision, the adjudicator must also determine whether the class member's disability and eligibility has been continuous through the date of readjudication (i.e., through the current date or the date of the most recent allowance). In other words, as a result of the redetermination, if the claimant is found not disabled, the inquiry will end. However, if the claimant is found disabled, then the claim will be further developed and reopened and considered through the present time.

4. Appeal rights

Class members who receive adverse redetermination decisions will have full appeal rights, i.e. Appeals Council (AC) and judicial review.

5. Review jurisdiction

The Hearing Office (HO) nearest to the claimant's residence will usually perform the required redetermination.

6. Consolidation of claims

The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, may at its option, consolidate the Grant claim(s) with another disability claim by the same individual that is pending at the disability determination services, ALJ or AC level, provided that such consolidation would not unreasonably delay a decision on the pending claim.