Disability Rights Oregon and the Oregon Law Center have filed a class action lawsuit against the Social Security Administration, alleging that its handling of a troubled nonprofit organization — Safety Net of Oregon — is illegal and imperils the financial stability of hundreds of disabled individuals.

On March 6, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General served a federal search warrant on Safety Net of Oregon, a nonprofit that manages the disability benefits for individuals unable to handle their finances, to investigate charges that $600,000 of beneficiary funds were unaccounted for. The Social Security Administration (SSA) also decertified Safety Net, leaving about 1,000 people, many with severe disabilities to find a new organization or individual (a “payee”) to manage their benefits by March 21. Those unable to find a new payee would be unable to access their money beginning April 1.

The legal complaint states that SSA’s efforts to alert Safety Net’s clients through phone calls and letters that they would need a new payee have fallen short. According to the complaint, only 300 of Safety Net’s clients have found new payees. Within a week, the remaining 700 will be unable to access their funds for rent, utilities, medical costs and other necessities.

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