BLC has provided declarations in support of a class action lawsuit challenging the Social Security Administration’s special “COVID Waiver” process. The suit, filed by lawyers from Justice in Aging, the New York Legal Assistance Group, and a private law firm, claims the Emergency Message creating the policy is arbitrary and capricious, has been applied inconsistently, and has not been properly explained to beneficiaries. Our declarations share the experiences of BLC clients and attorneys in navigating the flawed implementation of this COVID Waiver policy. The complaint and the press release are both available online.
Having a streamlined COVID Waiver process aims to protect those who were assessed overpayments because of Social Security’s COVID shutdown, but the current procedure is vague and confusing for beneficiaries. Many of our clients are experiencing economic instability while they wait to see if they qualify for this streamlined process.
BLC focuses on, and is best known for, direct legal services that are vital to members of our community who live with disabilities and rely on Social Security for economic stability. But we do not do this work alone or in a vacuum. In support of our clients’ needs, we have long played a supporting role in advocating for systems change championed by our incredible partners like Justice In Aging. This is an integral part of our strategic plan.
Change through advocacy requires, first and foremost, a courageous plaintiff willing to stand up to an injustice that they experience. The strategies required to carry out a piece of advocacy are varied and require a vast toolbox: a connected community of service providers, a great intake system, direct service providers like BLC, policymakers and policy advocates, and litigators. Further, it requires excellent communication between all of these parties, and support from people who believe in the cause. When we work together, systemic change can be achieved.
We are grateful to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with all of these players, fighting for economic security and a more just Social Security system.