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Bowen v. City of New York

476 U.S. 467 (1986)

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Bowen v. City of New York

United States Supreme Court

476 U.S. 467 (1986)

Facts

A group of people with serious mental disabilities who had been denied or cut off from disability benefits (collectively, the class) (plaintiffs) filed a class action against the Social Security Administration (SSA) (defendant) in federal district court, alleging the SSA was following an illegal policy that resulted in the erroneous denial of disability benefits for applicants with the impairments suffered by the class. The class included claimants who had been denied benefits, or lost benefits they had previously received, on or after April 1, 1980, and who were at varying stages of administrative appeals through the SSA. Many members of the class who had previously received benefits had been hospitalized for medical problems after their benefits were cut off. The district court found that the SSA had been following an illegal policy from approximately 1978 to 1983 that had discriminated against disability-benefits applicants with mental impairments. The district court certified the class, including the applicants who had not exhausted the administrative remedies available through the SSA, and ordered the SSA to reopen the cases of those who had been wrongfully denied benefits. The court of appeals affirmed. The SSA appealed, arguing that the district court did not have jurisdiction over members of the class who had not exhausted the available administrative remedies as required by § 405(g) of the Social Security Act (the Act).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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