Immigrant SSI Lawsuit
US Federal Government agrees to extend benefits in class action settlement.
Immigrant SSIPhiladelphia, PA: (Mar-02-08) A class action lawsuit was brought against several federal agencies, alleging that elderly and disabled immigrants who were granted asylum in America lost government benefits because of delays in getting citizenship. The suit stated that at the time of being given asylum, elderly, poor, and disabled immigrants, were given monthly Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits of about $600 a month. Under federal law, it was granted that the monthly SSI would continue for seven years, until they became US citizens and would be entitled to the benefit.
Due to bureaucratic delays in processing green card applications and in granting citizenship a class action lawsuit was filed. The seven years ran out for thousands of immigrants, and their SSI benefits stopped. Sources estimate that over 20,000 disabled and elderly immigrants lost benefits. An additional 40,000 are expected to be terminated in coming years, according to sources at the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, which filed the suit in 2007 against several federal agencies. The lead plaintiff named, Shmul Kaplan, 81, of Levittown, was granted asylum in 1997 to escape religious persecution in Russia. Three years ago, the federal government cut off his $590 a month SSI. One of Kaplan's legs was severed and the other crushed in a train accident years ago. He finally became a United States citizen, and had his SSI restored in September 2007.
As part of a settlement reached, the federal government agreed to resolve the class action lawsuit by expediting the immigrantsí citizenship applications and restoring their SSI payments once citizenship is granted. [PHILLY NEWS: IMMIGRANT SSI]
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