Pressure Applied to SSA to Reinstate Benefits of Former Conn Clients
Eric C. Conn aka “Mr. Social Security” has been sentenced to 27 years in a federal prison, a sentence which he deserves. However, not all of his former clients have gotten what they deserve, which is reinstatement of their social security disability benefits. Starting in 2015 SSA has reduced and stopped paying benefits to former clients of Eric Conn because of his scheme. Many attorneys, including our managing partner John Goss, have donated their time to represent these claimants so that they get a fair hearing in order to have their benefits reinstated.
Between 2016 and 2018, the Appeals Council sent over 2,000 cases to SSA to be reviewed, a process called redetermination. These cases were identified by the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) as potentially fraudulent. The SSA held redetermination hearings and most claimants received unfavorable decisions by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) after their social security disability appeal. The ALJs were instructed by the OIG in each case to disregard all medical evidence that came from the physicians who were co-conspirators of Eric Conn.
After an appeal that went to the 6th District Court, it was ruled that these hearings were unconstitutional. The claimants should have been granted an opportunity to rebut the claim that the medical evidence presented that originally got them their benefits were in fact fraudulent. One of the attorneys who presented oral arguments in this case was Arpit Garg of WilmerHale Law Firm. John Goss has said that attorney Garg “has been nothing short of heroic in this litigation.” The decision was to reverse the ruling to cut off benefits, and allow the claimants another opportunity to prove their claim at a new hearing. This ruling, as well as urging by Representative Hal Rogers, led to the SSA reinstating hundreds of claimants’ benefits. However, there are still hundreds of claimants whose social security disability benefits were not reinstated and many attorneys are still fighting for them, including John Goss.
A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of former clients of Conn, whose benefits still have not been reinstated. John Goss is one of the attorneys who are taking action in representing the claimants in this class action suit, along with attorneys from WilmerHale. The class action complaint filed is arguing that many claimants have not been granted their proper due process rights under the 5th Amendment, the Social Security Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. This class action suit hopes to grant the remaining victims of Conn’s scheme reinstatement of their benefits, or at the very least new hearings to be held in a speedy fashion.