A glitch in the handling of social security benefits made budgeting more difficult for those living in retirement living communities as elderly people had their payments garnished or erased.
A proposed settlement tentatively authorized by a judge in California would rectify the issue, which revolves around the restriction of payments to those who have a warrant out for their arrest.
Certain provisions in the Social Security Act require that funds not be disbursed to those fleeing from arrest, and the administration used an automated system that linked warrants from police computers to those on benefit rolls to cease payments.
"[But] the vast majority of class members were not fleeing at all; many never knew that criminal charges were pending against them, let alone that a warrant had been issued," said Gerald McIntyre, a National Senior Citizens Law Center attorney.
Many of the charges were alleged by plaintiffs to have involved minor infractions, or unproven allegations. The SSA agreed to pay back more than $500 million to 80,000 seniors if the plan is agreed to by both sides.