Michigan Reentry Law Wiki

Sample Letter to Social Security: Discretionary Good Cause

From Reentry

March 14, 2007


Julie Myers-Laurence
Social Security Administration
50 College SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Re: John Doe, SSN **********
Request for Reinstatement of Benefits

Dear Ms. Myers-Laurence.

I am writing on behalf of John Doe to follow up on his Request for Reconsideration, filed March 8, 2007, and to request that the Social Security Administration immediately reinstate Mr. Doe’s Social Security Disability benefits, and pay all benefits previously withheld. I enclose an Appointment of Representative form 1696, the original of which is being sent by mail.

Mr. Doe has had his Social Security Disability benefits suspended because there is a 1992 warrant from Washington State as a result of Mr. Doe’ failure to appear for an arraignment. On May 22, 1992 a case was filed against Mr. Doe in Skagit County, Washington charging him with theft in the second degree. Mr. Doe had left Washington state prior to filing of the criminal case against him. Due to his physical condition, he is now unable to travel to Washington to resolve the warrant. Attached please find a statement from his physician indicating that he is unable to travel to Washington. See Exhibit A.

Under POMS GN 02613.025, Mr. Doe is eligible for the good cause exception. POMS GN 02613.025 requires, in relevant part, that a beneficiary:

be given the opportunity to establish good cause based on mitigating circumstances. Good cause based on mitigating circumstances will be found if all the factors in either Option A….are met. If the required factors are not present on the warrant or are conclusively available in SSA records, SSA cannot establish good cause unless the beneficiary provides the necessary evidence.

a. Option A

Find good cause if:

  • The criminal offense or probation/parole violation on which the beneficiary was charged or convicted was non-violent and not drug related. For a probation/parole violation the original offense was also non-violent and not drug related; and
  • The beneficiary was not convicted of any subsequent felony crimes since the warrant was issued; and
  • The law enforcement agency that issued the warrant reports that it will not extradite the fugitive or is unwilling to act on the warrant.

Mr. Doe meets all three criteria for good cause. First, the criminal offense with which Mr. Doe is charged was non-violent and not drug-related. Specifically, as the attached Information, dated May 22, 1992, shows, Mr. Doe was charged with theft in the second degree. Specifically, Mr. Doe was charged with “wrongly obtain[ing] or exert[ing] unauthorized control over a gold and diamond bracelet, property of a value exceeding $250 but not more than $1,500; with intent to deprive Jane Roe of such property.” See Exhibit B.

Second, Mr. Doe has not been convicted of any subsequent felony crimes since the warrant was issued. Mr. Doe states that he does not have any subsequent felony convictions, and also that he has been living in Michigan since the warrant was issued. A search of Mr. Doe’s Michigan criminal history reveals two convictions from the 1970s, which pre-date the warrant. See Exhibit C. Similarly, a search of Mr. Doe’s Washington criminal history shows only a 1987 conviction, which likewise pre-dates the warrant. See Exhibit D.

Third, Washington state has indicated that it is unwilling to extradite Mr. Doe. The warrant states prominently at the top “Washington State Only.” See Exhibit E. In addition, attorney Raquel Olivo of our office contacted the authorities in Washington state, who confirmed that they are unwilling to extradite Mr. Doe. It is also worth noting that Mr. Doe presented himself to the Grand Rapids Police Department in an effort to resolve this matter, but that the GRPD did not arrest him or take any other action.

The suspension of Mr. Doe’s benefits has resulted in extreme hardship. He faces potential homelessness, as his wife’s disability check does not cover their rent, let alone other expenses. Homelessness would be catastrophic, as Mr. Doe suffers from cardio obstructive pulmonary disease, uncontrolled diabetes, sleep apnea, and uncontrolled glaucoma. Mr. Doe uses a breathing machine, and is dependent on numerous medications, including insulin. I am presently trying to resolve issues with Mr. Doe’s medical coverage that have arisen as a result of the outstanding warrant and the suspension of his Social Security Disability.

Please advise me of the status of Mr. Doe’s Request for Reconsideration, including any action taken or conference scheduled. I can be reached at 616-774-0672. I very much appreciate your assistance, and hope that Mr. Doe’s benefits can be promptly restored.

Sincerely,

Miriam Aukerman
Attorney at Law

cc: John Doe
Encl.


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