In a legal settlement that advocates described as the first of its kind, Social Security has agreed to provide staff training and assistance to two mentally disabled San Francisco men who said they lost benefits because they couldn't understand the rules.
The settlement, approved Tuesday by a federal judge, requires the Social Security Administration to assign a staff expert to meet regularly with each man, explain the agency's forms and requirements, and help them respond in ways that protect their rights.
The agency also agreed to pay $900,000 in fees for the two men's lawyers, who have worked on the case for five years. ...
The agency offers no such assistance to at least 2 million Social Security recipients, and an undetermined number of applicants, who have mental or learning disabilities and have to decipher the complex eligibility requirements on their own, Bruce [the attorney for the plaintiffs] said.