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Mathews v. Eldridge

United States Supreme Court
424 U.S. 319 (1976)


Facts

Mr. Eldridge (plaintiff) began receiving Social Security benefits in June 1968. In March 1972, the state agency in charge of monitoring Eldridge’s medical condition sent him a questionnaire. Based on Eldridge’s answers to the questionnaire and reports from Eldridge’s doctor and a psychiatric consultant, the state agency informed Eldridge that he was no longer eligible for benefits. Eldridge disputed this decision in writing, but the state agency terminated his benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) accepted this determination and advised Eldridge that his benefits would terminate after that month. The notification informed Eldridge that he had the right to seek reconsideration by the state agency within six months. Eldridge did not request reconsideration, but filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the administrative procedures used to determine whether a Social Security recipient has a continuing disability. The district court and court of appeals held that Eldridge had to be afforded an evidentiary hearing under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Mathews, the Secretary of HEW, appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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