Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to questions you may have about the SSA Disability Class Action Settlement.

What is this case about?

Class Agent Ronald Jantz sought EEO counseling on August 22, 2005 and September 20, 2006, filed formal complaints of discrimination after seeking counseling, and later notified the Investigator that he desired to pursue his individual case as a class action. Specifically, Mr. Jantz alleged that SSA discriminated against employees with targeted disabilities with respect to promotions. Mr. Jantz made a request for hearing to the EEOC Baltimore Field Office, where the matter was assigned to the Honorable David Norken, EEOC Administrative Judge. On September 25, 2006, the EEOC issued its Acknowledgment and Order for Class Certification in this matter. In 2007, Mr. Jantz retained Class Counsel to pursue his legal claims, and Class Counsel has continued to represent the Class Agents to the present.

Following a period of discovery, expert reports and expert depositions, on June 27, 2008, Complainants filed a Motion for Class Certification. On October 8, 2008, the EEOC issued its Decision to Accept, Reject or Cancel Class Complaint, and ordered that the Class be certified.

On December 8, 2008, the Agency appealed the EEOC’s decision certifying the Class. On August 25, 2010, the EEOC Office of Federal Operations affirmed the class certification decision, and on January 4, 2011, denied the Agency’s motion for reconsideration. On January 6, 2011, the Agency mailed notice of the class certification decision to the class as defined by the EEOC.

On July 11, 2011, the Agency filed a Motion for Class Decertification. The Parties subsequently engaged in further discovery, including by exchanging updated data and expert reports. On March 10, 2014, the Administrative Judge issued a Memorandum and Order denying the Agency’s Motion for Class Decertification, but left open the possibility that the decision could be challenged following a period of additional discovery.

The Parties thereafter sought and obtained a stay of the proceedings to allow the Parties the opportunity to engage in mediation. The Parties subsequently participated in four full days of mediation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over a period of approximately eight weeks, overseen by the Honorable Diane Welsh (Ret.), a former United States Magistrate Judge and an experienced JAMS mediator. Based on the Parties’ intensive negotiations during this mediation process, the Parties agreed to this Settlement Agreement.

When did this case start?

Mr. Jantz, who is deaf, started this case on August 22, 2005. Mr. Jantz is highly qualified: he holds an MBA in Finance/Accounting, a Bachelors of Business Administration and an Associates of Business Administration. Despite numerous applications for promotions and other advancement opportunities, in his over 25 years with SSA, Mr. Jantz was never promoted. After 23 years of stagnation at his grade level, Mr. Jantz filed this lawsuit. T. Jameel Muhammad, Donna Ring, Ellen Altemose and Karl Baldwin were added as Class Agents when Plaintiffs moved for class certification in 2008.

How do I know if I am a settlement Class Member AND THEREFORE ELIGIBLE FOR MONETARY COMPENSATION?

You are a Settlement Class Member if you meet the following definition:

All current and former employees with targeted disabilities at the Social Security Administration who, between August 22, 2003 and October 30, 2014, have applied for and made a Best Qualified List for promotion, but were not selected for promotion. A “promotion” described in the foregoing sentence may be lateral.

This means that if you are an employee with a “targeted disability”, the position for which you applied and made the Best Qualified List did not need to be at a higher grade than the position you already held when you applied for the position. You just need to: 1) be an employee with a targeted disability; and 2) have made it onto one or more Best Qualified Lists during the Class Period without having been selected.

You are not a member of the Settlement Class unless you have a “targeted disability.”

Targeted disabilities are those disabilities that the federal government, as a matter of policy, has identified for special emphasis. The targeted disabilities are:

Deafness/Hearing – total deafness in both ears (with or without understandable speech);
Blindness/Vision – inability to read ordinary size print, not correctable by glasses, or no usable vision, beyond light perception;
Missing extremities – missing one arm or leg, both hands or arms, both feet or legs, one hand or arm and one foot or leg, one hand or arm and both feet or legs, both hands or arms and one foot or leg, or both hands or arms and both feet or legs;
Partial Paralysis – because of a brain, nerve, or muscle impairment, including palsy, and cerebral palsy, there is some loss of ability to move or use a part of the body, including both hands; any part of both arms or legs; one side of the body, including one arm and one leg; and/or three or more major body parts;
Complete Paralysis – because of a brain, nerve or muscle impairment, including palsy and cerebral palsy, there is a complete loss of ability to move or use a part of the body, including both hands, one or both arms or legs; the lower half of the body; one side of the body, including one arm and one leg; and/or three or more major body parts;
Convulsive Disorders/Epilepsy;
Severe Intellectual Disability/Mental Retardation;
Psychiatric Disability/Mental or Emotional Illness (a history of treatment for mental or emotional problems); and
Dwarfism/Distortion of Limb and/or Spine (e.g., dwarfism, kyphosis).

Some Settlement Class Members have already self-identified in SSA’s personnel records as having one or more of the targeted disabilities set forth above. Such individuals will receive a special Claim Form indicating that they are already identified as having a targeted disability.

I have a relative who is a Settlement Class Member but they passed away.  Can I submit a Claim Form on behalf of my deceased relative?

Yes. The estate would have a claim if the deceased is a Settlement Class Member and the estate may assert the claim with sufficient documentation showing that the person submitting the claim is legally authorized to do so.

What are the Terms of the Settlement?

A copy of the Settlement Agreement can be found HERE.

Where do I get a copy of the Notice that EXPLAINS THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT?

A copy of the “Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement” can be found HERE.

Where do I get a copy of the Claim Form necessary to receive monetary compensation from the settlement?

A copy of the Claim Form can be found HERE.

WHERE SHOULD I SEND MY CLAIM FORM?

You may return your Claim Form by mail, fax, or email, to the address below. If sent by mail, the Claim Form must be postmarked by February 26, 2015 to be timely. If sent by fax or email, the Claim Form must be transmitted by February 26, 2015 to be timely.

SSA Disability Class Action
Claims Administrator
c/o Angeion Group
1801 Market Street
Suite 660
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: 215-563-4116
Fax: 215-525-0209
Email: speneda [at] angeiongroup [dot] com

WHERE AND WHEN IS THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING?

The Final Approval Hearing is set for March 24, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., at the Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, City Crescent Building, 10 South Howard Street, Third Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201.

What does it mean that the lawsuit is a class action?

The EEOC has allowed this case to proceed on a class-wide basis. That means that the Class Agents are representing a defined group of people. The class is defined above. Because it is a class action, this case has been resolved on a class-wide basis for the entire class. This means that if the EEOC grants final approval of the Settlement Agreement, all members of the Settlement Class will be bound by the terms of the Settlement Agreement and will not be permitted to pursue any individual claims relating to issues described in the class action that arose during the Class Period.

Even if you filed your own individual claim, if that claim has not yet been finally adjudicated and it involves issues described in the class action that arose during the Class Period, it will be subsumed by this class action settlement. Therefore, if you have an individual claim that may relate to any of the issues in this class action, please make sure to forward the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement that you received to your attorney, if applicable.

WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?

Information about the settlement can be found at www.ssadisabilityclassaction.com. You may also contact Class Counsel or the Claims Administrator with any questions.

Claims Administrator:

SSA Disability Class Action
Claims Administrator
c/o Angeion Group
1801 Market Street
Suite 660
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: 215-563-4116
Fax: 215-525-0209
Email: speneda [at] angeiongroup [dot] com

Class Counsel:

BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C.
Shanon J. Carson
Sarah R. Schalman-Bergen
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 875-4656
Fax: (215 875-4604
Email: scarson [at] bm [dot] net

SCHNEIDER WALLACE
COTTRELL KONECKY, LLP
Todd M. Schneider
Josh Konecky
180 Montgomery Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel: (415) 421-7100
Fax: (415) 421-7105
Email: jkonecky [at] schneiderwallace [dot] com

DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATES
Laurence Paradis
Christine Chuang
2001 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704-1204
Tel: (510) 665-8644
Fax: (510) 6658511
Email: larryp [at] dralegal [dot] org

BROWN, GOLDSTEIN & LEVY, LLP
Daniel F. Goldstein
Brooke E. Lierman
120 E. Baltimore St., Suite 1700
Baltimore, MD 21202
Tel: (410) 962-1030
Fax: (410) 385-0869
Email: dfg [at] browngold [dot] com