Disabled Children May Receive Back Benefits

As many as 50,000 disabled California children who were denied supplemental security income payments in the 1980s may be eligible for back benefits under terms of a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down last year, according to Elena Ackel, a Los Angeles Legal Aid attorney.

The Supreme Court decided in the case of Zebley vs. Sullivan that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services illegally denied benefits to disabled children because of overly restrictive standards between Jan. 1, 1980, and Feb. 20, 1990.

Under the decision, an estimated 452,000 people who were denied benefits as children during that time may apply at any Social Security office to have their cases reviewed. Ackel estimated that those wrongly denied benefits could be eligible for up to $50,000 in back payments and a $300 increase in current monthly payments. A hot line (800-523-0000) has been set up to answer questions.