Attorney: Former Conn clients to get $21M in benefits
Floyd County Attorney Ned Pillersdorf told the Floyd County Fiscal Court this week that approximately $21 million will filter through the local economy soon, as the Social Security Administration starts releasing disability checks that have been withheld for more than three years.
The SSA hosted redetermination hearings for 1,500 former clients of attorney Eric Conn between 2015 and 2018, and cut benefits to about 900 people, Pillersdorf explained.
The redetermination hearings were ruled unconstitutional in a case filed by a Hueysville resident, but the SSA appealed the decision, prompting what Pillersdorf described as a “four-and-a-half year legal battle, a true crisis,” that ended recently.
He said benefits will be reinstated to between 300 and 400 people, and some of them will receive a check totaling between $50,000 and $100,000. He reported that some of those people don’t know the money will be sent.
“We don’t know who these clients are,” he said. “And I get calls every day … there are literally people out there that have no idea that this is happening. They’re not on social media. They don’t read the newspaper. They don’t watch YMT. These people may not know their benefits are being reinstated.”
He said the funds will be released via checks, not by direct deposit, and he encouraged former clients of Conn who lost benefits to ensure that the SSA has their correct mailing address.
He shared a message for former clients of Conn who lost benefits.
“Frankly, I’m worried about some of these people,” Pillersdorf said. “We’ve had an epidemic in the last few days of scammers calling these people. If you get a call from the Social Security Administration, it is not from them. The Social Security Administration does not call you.”
He encouraged these former Conn clients to “be cautious with their money.”
“They need to be cautious with their money,” he said. “They need to manage their money, and I would encourage these people, don’t tell anybody you’re getting any money.”
Judge-Executive Robbie Williams commended Pillersdorf for his work to help former Conn clients.
“Judge, I accept no congratulations. I’m part of a team,” Pillersdorf said.
He reported that 150 volunteer lawyers have been assisting in these cases. The work was possible through AppalRed Legal Aid.
By Mary Meadows
Floyd County Chronicle and Times