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Social Security Administration Retreats from “Unknowing Flight” Doctrine and Will Pay Hundreds of Millions in Back Benefits

By Gerald A. McIntyre, Kevin Prindiville & Anna Rich

The Social Security Administration’s interpretation of the federal statutory “fugitive felon” provision deprived hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities of benefits for which they were eligible. Recent settlement of a nationwide class action in Martinez v. Astrue will restore these benefits and pay more than $500 million in retroactive benefits to a portion of the class. Outreach by advocates will be critical to ensure that the terms of the settlement are fully realized and clients receive the benefits promised.

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