SSA has begun implementation of the Martinez v. Astrue settlement.
Now that the effective date (Nov. 30, 2009) of the settlement in Martinez v. Astrue has passed, SSA has begun implementation of the settlement by sending out informational notices advising 28,000 class members who have had their Social Security Title II benefits suspended since January 1, 2007 that they can expect to have their benefits reinstated retroactively.
Also, this week SSA has issued the first of several new sections of its operations manual, the Programs Operations Manual System or POMS, dealing with the Martinez settlement. POMS GN 02613.865 – 02613,885. These POMS sections describe the settlement and set forth the approximate time frames for relief for class members.
Impact on Medicare Part B – Many people who were receiving Social Security were no longer able to pay their Medicare Part B premium after their Social Security benefits were suspended. As a result, their Part B coverage was terminated for non-payment. POMS GN 02613.870A1 states that if a class member’s Part B coverage has been terminated for nonpayment, they will only be able to reenroll during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. This implies that, for each of the years in which they were not enrolled, they will be subject to the late enrollment penalty in the form of a higher premium for the rest of their lives. NSCLC is interested in hearing about these cases. If you have a client who is a Martinez class member whose Part B benefits were terminated, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in further updates on Martinez implementation and participating in discussion of issues that arise in the course of implementation, you may want to join the Martinez listserv.