Over 4000 Social Security disability claimants who were previously denied disability benefits going back to January 1, 2008 by certain Administrative Law Judges (David Z. Nisnewitz, Seymour Fier, Hazel C. Strauss, Marilyn P. Hoppenfeld, and Michael D. Cofresi) at the Jamaica Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR) are beginning to get mail notification of their rights to new hearings under the terms of a pending class action settlement. The official Notice, which was already printed in the New York Daily News, can be seen here.
My phone has been ringing off the hook since yesterday with claimants who were denied benefits and who want to know how they can obtain the disability benefits so many were unjustly denied by these five allegedly biased Judges. A public hearing to determine the settlement’s fairness is scheduled for July 24, 2013 at 2:30p.m at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
This class action case, Padro vs. Astrue, alleged that certain Queens, New York Social Security Administrative Law Judges were “biased” against claimants and unfairly denied their claims for disability benefits. It must be noted that these rogue Judges are the exception in the Queens disability office. See my dedication to their late distinguished colleague Judge Sol Wieseltheir here.
I was one of only two private practice Queens New York Social Security Disability lawyers (the other was my colleague Jeff DeLott) who had the courage to stand up to these rogue QueensJudges in the Padro class action case. If you would like our New York Social Security Disability lawyers to give your prior Social Security disability denial a fresh look and free evaluation, call us toll free at 1-877-NY-DBLAW (1-877-693-2529). Ask to speak directly to one of our Social Security Disability attorneys. We would be glad to meet with you in either our Forest Hills office or one of our other convenient locations. See here for a copy of my legal affidavit alleging biased and unfair hearings by Chief Judge David Z. Nisnewitz and Judge Seymour Fier.
As a result of the substantial evidence of improper judicial conduct uncovered in this case, the Social Security Administration (SSA) chose (at a substantial cost to the taxpayers) to settle this case and agree to give over 4000 previously denied claimants new hearings.
This is a great victory for the many vulnerable disabled residents of Queens who were trampled upon by a few out of control Queens Social Security Judges who thought they were above the law.
As a result of the proposed settlement, any Social Security disability claimant who received either an “Unfavorable” or only a “Partially Favorable” decision by Judges David Z. Nisnewitz, Seymour Fier, Hazel C. Strauss, Marilyn P. Hoppenfeld or Michael D. Cofresi from January 1, 2008 to the date of the final settlement will have the right to a new hearing before a new Judge, and a new decision in their case. If the new decision is “Favorable”, this could potentially result in ”six figure” awards of back benefits to certain claimants along with retroactive Medicare health insurance coverage. Eligible class members should begin receiving letters and instructions on how to request a new hearing shortly after the settlement is approved.
In an unusual action, because the proposed settlement does not remove these Judges from their positions, for 30 months after the final settlement, the Social Security Administration has agreed to have appeals of decisions from these five Judges reviewed by a special group of staff at the Social Security Appeals Council. If this staff decides that a Social Security disability claimant deserves a new hearing, the case will be sent back to a different Judge who is not one of the five named in the lawsuit. Finally, Social Security has agreed to re-train the five offending Judges and also issue a new rule on how to complain about biased Judges in the future.
You can read the entire proposed Padro v. Astrue class action settlement here. We will continue to update you on this site on this good news for disabled residents of Queens as more information becomes available. If you have questions, call our Queens Social Security Disability Lawyers located in Forest Hills toll free at 1-877-NY-DBLAW (1-877-693-2529 x 123).