Bowen v. City of New York,
476 U.S. 467 (1986)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bowen v. City of New York, 476 U.S. 467 (1986)

Bowen v. City of New York

No. 84-1923

Argued February 26, 1986

Decided June 2, 1986

476 U.S. 467




The Social Security Act provides benefits to disabled persons under two programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA): the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSD) and the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI). Regulations for both programs establish a five-step "sequential evaluation" process for determining eligibility for benefits. The initial determination of whether an individual is disabled is made by a state agency under the authority and control of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary). This determination is subject to review by the SSA. The disappointed claimant is then afforded a three-stage administrative review process. Proceeding through these three stages exhausts the claimant's administrative remedies. Thereafter, he may seek judicial review in Federal District Court, but must do so within 60 days of the Secretary's final decision as required by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Respondents brought a class action against the Secretary and the Commissioner of the SSA, seeking relief on behalf of all individuals residing in New York who had, within a specified time period, been denied disability benefits or whose benefits were terminated pursuant to an allegedly illegal internal policy of the Secretary. The District Court certified the class as including claimants who had not complied with the 60-day requirement for seeking judicial review and other claimants who had not exhausted their administrative remedies and obtained a final decision of the Secretary as required by § 405(g). Holding that the policy in question was illegal, the District Court ordered the Secretary to reopen the decisions denying or terminating benefits, and to redetermine eligibility. The Court of Appeals affirmed.


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