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COCHRAN v. SECRETARY OF HHS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


June 26, 1984

ELVIN COCHRAN, Plaintiff
v.
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Gerald J. Weber, United States District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

MEMORANDUM ORDER

GERALD J. WEBER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 The plaintiff, Elvin Cochran, was found to be entitled to social security benefits as of September 12, 1976. These benefits were terminated as of March, 1983, following a determination by the Social Security Administrator that Cochran was able to engage in gainful activity. A hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on June 15, 1983. On July 15, 1983, the ALJ affirmed the termination as did the Appeals Council on December 16, 1983 making it a final decision of the Secretary. This appeal followed.

 At a press conference held April 13, 1984, the Secretary of Health and Human Services ordered a suspension of the disability review process pending implementation of anticipated new disability legislation. The Secretary further ordered that the Social Security Administration continue benefit payments to all benefit recipients who had been notified of termination, but whose administration appeals have yet to be completed. We recognize that the Secretary limited the scope of her suspension order to newly initiated disability reviews or those administrative appeals still pending. Nevertheless, in light of the Secretary's change in policy with respect to benefit eligibility of recipients facing termination, and in the interest of an even-handed approach to the problem of continuing eligibility for such benefits, we feel compelled to take action similar to that of the Secretary with regard to those appeals presently pending in this court. Accordingly, we will remand this termination appeal to the Secretary for substantive reconsideration under such uniform standards as are eventually adopted and applied to all such termination cases. Because the Secretary has ordered the continuation of benefits to all recipients whose administrative appeals have yet to be completed, we further order the reinstatement of benefits from the date of prior termination until such time as the Secretary may conclude based upon uniform standards applicable to all such cases that the payment of benefits should cease.

 SO ORDERED this 26th day of June, 1984.

19840626

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