May 26 was the second anniversary of the day Social Security Administration bureaucrats commenced their Memorial Day weekend surprise attack by notifying 900 of Floyd County lawyer Eric Conn’s former clients that their monthly subsistence benefits were cut off.
Those affected were given only 10 days to gather up decades-old medical records, although the SSA knew Conn had either destroyed them or lost them. (Conn acknowledged this in his recent guilty plea).
Predictably, two suicides occurred in rapid succession. Leroy Burchett ceased taking his anti-depressants due to cost concerns, lapsed into a deep depression and shot himself. Melissa Jude, learning that it would take 30 days to retrieve her mental-health records, put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. They both left behind loving spouses and devastated children.
When U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers told me that he had gotten benefits reinstated, his last words on the voicemail were that the SSA would put every one of these people through hearings. The results of 1,500 hearings have been mixed; 700 people have kept their benefits, overcoming SSA rules that rigged the hearings against them.
And the SSA put Burchett’s and Jude’s estates through re-determination hearings in an attempt to deny the grieving spouses benefits. The hearings found that both were truly disabled.
We should not forget them.