Settlement leaves attorneys calling on the ‘forgotten 500′ in Eric C. Conn case
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - While the Eric C. Conn documentary, “The Big Conn” brought national spotlight to the former clients impacted by the scandalous social security fraud, a new development in the saga is creating a silver lining for hundreds of people impacted by the loss of benefits.
Ned Pillersdorf represented the clients in a class action lawsuit, which was settled last year in what he called a game-changing update for the former clients. Now, between 500 and 600 former clients are eligible for a new hearing to decide the status of their social security benefits after six years of waiting.
“This is the most significant class action- any type of settlement- of my career,” said Attorney Ned Pillersdorf. “Five hundred to 600 people who we’ve been worried about can get their benefits reinstated by simply asking for a new hearing. Which they ought to do.”
The settlement came around the same time as Apple TV+ released its docuseries “The Big Conn.” Pillersdorf says that if the two things are not related it is a very big coincidence, since the documentary showed the faces and figths of those impacted. And though the clients are now receiving the opportunity to get those benefits back, Pillersdorf worries many may not know the details of the settlement or be too traumatized by their experience to follow up with the letter they should receive from the social Security Administration.
“They’ve become so suspicious of anything from the Social Security Administration the way that they have been treated,” he said.
He said there are hundreds of people he has never been able to contact due to the privacy of the system and he hopes the news will reach each of them so they can get their lives back together after years of waiting and worrying.
“So frustrating. We work so hard to get this wonderful class action settlement,” he said. “Of the 600 people, as we sit here today, I’m convinced more than 300 have no idea any of this is going on.”
According to the Prestonsburg attorney, once a client requests a new hearing they will begin receiving their benefits again. That will continue until they make it to the new hearing, which he says can sometimes take more than one year. If the hearing declares them eligible, they will continue receiving their benefits as well as backpay for the years they were “unjustly denied.” If they are found unfit for the benefits, they will have to pay them back. However, Pillersdorf said the new hearing are an easy answer for anyone who was truly disabled and not allowed to continue to receive the money.
“It is a no-brainer. Send in that notice, get your monthly benefits reinstated now,” he said. “If you’re truly disabled and win your new hearing, I can think of more than 100,00 reasons why you oughta go through that new hearing.”
Now, he says, it is a waiting game to see if the hundreds of former clients will go from “forgotten” to found and regain the resources needed to get back on track.
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