TN 63 (08-94)

SI 00830.855 Processing Inquiries from Potential Barney Class Members

Citations:

Act as amended, Section 1612(a)(2);

20 CFR 416.1124(b); Section 13736 of

P.L. 103-66

A. Background

1. In Re Barney et al v. Shalala

In January 1992, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ruled in SSA's favor that income from individually allotted Indian trust land is countable for SSI purposes. Plaintiffs appealed, but subsequently proposed a settlement. On June 2, 1994, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit approved a settlement agreement between the Secretary and plaintiffs.

The Seattle Regional Office (RO) will calculate the relief, if any, due class members entitled to case review, and process the cases. Field offices (FOs) will determine whether individuals who respond to posted notices about the Barney settlement are class members entitled to case review by the Seattle RO.

NOTE: Congress passed P.L. 103-66 to provide that, effective January 1, 1994, up to $2,000 per year received by Indians that is derived from individual interests in trust or restricted lands is excluded from income for SSI purposes. Prior to January 1, 1994, such income is countable (SI 00830.850).

2. Barney Class

The Barney class consists of SSI recipients who:

  • resided in the State of Washington anytime between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994, and

  • during that period received income from the lease of their individual interests in trust or restricted Indian land.

3. Class Members Entitled to Case Review

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, two subcategories of class members are entitled to a case review and possible further relief.

SSA (the Seattle RO) will review the record of any class member found to be overpaid because he/she (or an ineligible spouse or parent) received income from interests in trust or restricted Indian lands which resulted in an overpayment, any portion of which was outstanding between October 1, 1993 and December 31, 1993, or which since has been or may be assessed for any period between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994.

The other subcategory of class members entitled to case review and further relief are the individually named plaintiffs.

4. Further Relief

SSA (the Seattle RO) will perform a separate calculation to determine the amount of overpayment that would not have resulted had the exclusion provided by P.L. 103-66 been applied retroactively to March 31, 1987. (For individually named plaintiffs, the calculation will be performed for such earlier periods as may be at issue in their individual appeals.)

SSA will waive recovery of that amount of overpayment described in the preceding paragraph, above. If more than the unwaived portion has already been recovered, SSA will refund the difference between the amount recovered and the unwaived portion.

5. No Deadline for Relief

There is no deadline for availability of the relief for class members entitled to a case review.

B. Process

The plaintiffs' attorneys will provide SSA (the Seattle RO) with lists of names of individuals who they believe are class members entitled to a case review and further relief. In addition, notices explaining the terms of the Barney settlement will be posted in SSA field offices and other locations deemed appropriate by plaintiffs' attorneys, and for which they make arrangements to have the notices posted.

FOs will screen those individuals who self-identify, or are identified through the redetermination process, to determine whether they are class members entitled to a case review. FOs will forward information about those cases that meet the requirements for case review to the Seattle RO with a Barney Case Report form. For self-identification cases that do not meet the requirements for case review, FOs will send notices to the individuals explaining why they are not entitled to case reviews, and send a Barney Case Report form to the Seattle RO.

The Seattle RO will review the cases of individuals referred by plaintiffs' attorneys, and those referred from FOs, regardless of where the individuals currently reside. As applicable, the RO will provide further relief.

C. Procedure — Redetermination

In reviewing cases selected for redetermination, be alert to situations where the individual may be a Barney class member who is entitled to a case review. Complete a Case Report form (G. below) only when you determine an individual to be a class member entitled to a case review. Forward it and any information you may have regarding the Indian lease income received between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994, and the resulting overpayment, to the Seattle RO (address in Step 6 of D., below). Complete the redetermination. ( Barney involvement does not affect redetermination procedures.)

D. Procedure — Handling Barney Inquiries

Use this procedure when an individual inquires about the effect of the Barney settlement agreement on his/her case. The Seattle RO will also use this procedure for cases referred by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

NOTE TO TELESERVICE CENTERS: If an individual inquires about the Barney settlement agreement, refer the question to the local FO. Do not attempt to process the inquiry.

NOTE: Follow the special notice procedures in NL 01001.010 if the notice will be sent to a claimant, beneficiary, or representative payee who alleges being blind or visually impaired.

 

STEPACTION
1Use the SSR and/or any information in the individual's possession to determine whether he/she resided in the State of Washington at any time between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994.
 If the residency criterion is met, go to step 2.
 If the residency criterion is not met, this individual is not a Barney class member. Complete a Barney Case Report form (G. below) and send it to the Seattle RO (address in step 6 below). Send the individual a notice (E. below) explaining that he/she is not a Barney class member entitled to a case review because he/she did not reside in the State of Washington at any time between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994. STOP.
2Determine, using the SSR and/or available evidence, whether he/she (or his/her ineligible spouse or parent) received income from the lease of interests in trust or restricted Indian lands during the period March 31, 1987 through January 1, 1994.
 If so, go to step 3.
 If not, this individual is not a Barney class member. Complete a Barney Case Report form (G. below) and send it to the Seattle RO (address in step 6 below). Send the individual a notice (E. below) explaining that he/she is not a Barney class member entitled to a case review because he/she did not receive income between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994, from interests in trust or restricted Indian lands. STOP.
3Determine whether the income resulted in an overpayment.
 If so, go to step 4.
 If not, this class member is not entitled to a case review. Complete a Barney Case Report form (G. below) and send it to the Seattle RO (address in step 6 below). Send the individual a notice (E. below) explaining that he/she is not a class member entitled to a case review because income from his/her interests in trust or restricted Indian lands did not result in an overpayment. STOP.
4Determine whether any portion of the overpayment was outstanding between October 1, 1993 and December 31, 1993.
 If so, the individual is a class member entitled to a case review. Go to step 6.
 If not, go to step 5.
5Determine whether the overpayment has been assessed since December 31, 1993, or is being assessed.
 If so, the individual is a class member entitled to a case review. Go to step 6.
 If not, this class member is not entitled to a case review. Complete a Barney Case Report form (G. below) and send it to the Seattle RO (address in step 6 below). Send the individual a notice (E. below) explaining that he/she is not entitled to a case review because no portion of his/her overpayment was outstanding between October 1, 1993 and December 31, 1993; and he/she was not found to have been overpaid SSI since December 31, 1993, as a result of income received between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994, from his/her interests in trust or restricted Indian lands.
6Complete a Barney Case Report form (G. below) and send it to the Seattle RO at:
 SSA, Seattle Regional Office
 SSI Section, M/S RX 53
 2201 Sixth Ave
 Seattle, WA 98121-2500
 Include copies of any information you may have regarding the March 31, 1987 through January 1, 1994, Indian lease income and/or resulting overpayment. Do not send the claims file.

E. Procedure — Notice

For individuals who are not Barney class members or who are class members but are not entitled to a case review, follow this notice procedure.

Use an SSI Important Information (SSA-L8165-U2) notice to explain the settlement agreement, the requirements for class membership, and the requirements for a case review.

Also explain that the individual is not a class member entitled to a case review because he/she did not meet one of the requirements, and specify which one:

  • did not reside in the State of Washington anytime between March 31, 1987, and January 1, 1994

  • did not receive income between March 31, 1987, and January 1, 1994 from interests in trust or restricted Indian lands

  • was not overpaid SSI as a result of that income

  • had no portion of such an overpayment outstanding between October 1, 1993 and December 31, 1993, and was not assessed an overpayment since December 31, 1993, as a result of income received between March 31, 1987 and January 1, 1994, from interests in trust or restricted Indian lands.

Explain in the notice that if the individual thinks SSA is wrong, he/she may contact the attorneys for the Barney class who will answer questions about class membership. In the notice, provide the attorneys' name, address, and phone numbers:

 

Evergreen Legal Services

510 Larson Building

6 South Second Street

Yakima, Washington 98901

(509) 575-5593 or

1-800-631-1323

 

Also explain that the attorneys will contact SSA if they think SSA was wrong about whether the individual is entitled to a case review.

NOTE TO ADJUDICATORS: No appeal rights attach to SSA's finding that the individual is not a class member entitled to a case review. However, if you are contacted by an attorney who believes we made a mistake, contact the Seattle RO