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SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIMANTS MAY GET BENEFITS AS BAILEY CLASS ACTION IS IMPLEMENTED

 SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIMANTS MAY GET BENEFITS
 AS BAILEY CLASS ACTION IS IMPLEMENTED
 SUNBURY, Pa., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 15,000 Pennsylvania and Delaware residents, whose claims for Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were denied as nonsevere in 1983 and 1984, will have a chance to get their claims re-evaluated under the terms of settlement in a case called Bailey et al v. Sullivan.
 Letters notifying potential members of the Bailey class will be mailed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on Feb. 3.
 The federal class action lawsuit challenged SSA's practice of summarily denying up to 40 percent of all disability claims in the late 1970s on the basis that the claimants did not have any severe impairments.
 The lawsuit was filed in 1984 by Susquehanna Legal Services (SLS), Sunbury. The plaintiffs are represented by Peter B. Macky and Paul D. Welch, lawyers with SLS; Frederick Stanczak, formerly with SLS; and Jonathan Stein, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia.
 The settlement between the plaintiffs and SSA was approved by U.S. District Judge Sylvia Rambo on July 27, 1991. The settlement followed six years of litigation which culminated in a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in September 1989.
 The Circuit Court upheld Rambo's ruling that SSA violated the Social Security Act by not considering the combined impact of two or more nonsevere impairments. Several similar lawsuits were filed across the country, including Wilson et al v. Sullivan, a New Jersey class action.
 Macky and Welch hailed the settlement as "a significant victory for disabled people and their families. At long last, they will get a proper evaluation of their of their disability claims."
 "Any Pennsylvania or Delaware resident whose disability or SSI benefits were denied, terminated, or partly denied between August 8, 1983, and November 30, 1984, on the basis of no severe impairments is probably entitled to Bailey class membership," said Macky.
 Under the terms of the settlement, there is no automatic review of eligibility for class membership or re-evaluation of the disability claims. Rather, individuals must "opt in" to the class by returning to SSA the postage prepaid card included with the Feb. 3 letter or by calling or writing SSA within 30 days of receipt of the letter.
 SSA will screen for class membership only those who respond. SSA will then mail written notices informing claimants whether or not they are entitled to have their cases reviewed.
 Those who are notified that they are not Bailey class members have a right to appeal the decision to Rambo.
 Those who are notified that they are Bailey class members will have an opportunity to submit additional medical evidence. Their cases will then be re-examined to determine if they were entitled to benefits at the time their claims were denied or at any time since. Spouses, dependents and surviving relatives may also be entitled to benefits.
 The settlement obliges SSA to provide posters to all SSA field offices, hearing offices and to Pennsylvania and Delaware public assistance offices. SSA must also make substantial efforts to obtain new addresses for those whose letters are returned. Pennsylvania officials have already expressed great interest in reaching as many class members as possible, according to Macky.
 Susquehanna Legal Services has established a Baily hotline at 800-326-9264 at its Sunbury office, 206 Arch St., Sunbury, Pa., 17801. The hotline will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, commencing Tuesday, Feb. 4.
 At all other times or if the line is busy, callers can listen to a bilingual recorded message and leave a brief message. A Spanish- speaking operator will be available at specified times during the week.
 Anyone with questions about the Bailey case should contact Macky at the above address or phone number.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Peter Macky of Susquehanna Legal Services, 717-286-5687/ CO: Susquehanna Legal Services ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK-KA -- PH026 -- 5416 01/30/92 16:09 EST
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Date:Jan 30, 1992
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