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DELONEY v. CALIFANO
February 7, 1980
ISAAC DELONEY ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
JOSEPH CALIFANO, SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Parsons, Chief Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff brought this case as a class action to challenge
alleged "illegal" delays in processing Social Security
disability benefit claims. Such delays assertedly violate
Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq.,
the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 555(b), (e), and
the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United
States Constitution, inasmuch as:
(i) over half of the Illinois applicants do not
receive a determination on an initial application
within 60 days;
(ii) half of the applicants who succeed at the
reconsideration (first hearing) stage wait more
than 90 days;
(iii) an applicant waits between seven or
fourteen months from the time of a hearing
request to a decision and over two months for
implementation of same.
(iv) 40 per cent of those requesting Appeals
Council review must wait more than 90 days for a
(v) defendant, Secretary of Health, Education
and Welfare, has failed to promulgate through the
Social Security Administration any regulation
setting forth reasonable maximum time limits for
each of the above stages.
In a memorandum opinion and order entered August 16, 1977,
this Court concluded that subject matter jurisdiction was
available pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and in the
alternative, pursuant to a mandamus action under 28 U.S.C. § 1361.
The Court also reserved final ruling on cross motions for
summary judgment pending an evidentiary hearing at which
defendant was to bear the burden of either:
(1) presenting new justifications for the time
delays in processing Title II claims; or
(2) presenting evidence of progress made during
1976 and 1977 in reducing these delays, so as to
meet a 90 day maximum goal at each of the four
stages in the "open files" process.
In proceedings held before me on June 23, 1978, the Court
found that defendant had met its burden by showing some
progress in decreasing administrative delay and by presenting
credible justification for the delays. Accordingly the Court
permitted a maximum time limit of 120 days for each stage in
Title II cases for a six month period. At the end of this
time, defendant retained the burden of presenting
justifications for processing delays or of presenting evidence
of progress made during the six months.
On December 27, 1978 defendant filed a six month report
pursuant to this order. At that time, the Court permitted the
Secretary to discontinue monitoring the time for processing
disability benefit claims ...
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