Judge orders SSA to pay $42,000 in lawsuit over sudden closure of Safety Net of Oregon

The Oregonian, July 24, 2014

safetynetCLOSEDsmallA U.S. District Court judge has ordered the Social Security Administration to pay $42,000 in attorney’s fees to the Multnomah County residents who sued the agency, claiming it failed to protect elderly and disabled residents from losing their benefits after the company that managed their money abruptly closed.

The order ends the legal battle, but the struggle to reconnect Safety Net of Oregon’s 1,000 former clients with the benefits they lost after the company’s March closure continues. About 20 people still lack access to their monthly Social Security checks.

The backstory: In March, federal authorities launched an investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds by Safety Net of Oregon, a nonprofit “payee” that distributes Social Security benefits to people who can’t manage their own funds. The company was shut down as part of the investigation.

The Social Security Administration sent letters and made phone calls notifying Safety Net’s former clients that they needed to find a new payee by March 21. If they didn’t, they would lose access to their federal benefits.  But because many people who receive their benefits through a payee are homeless, they never got the message….Continue reading at OregonLive.com