Published February, 2006

Letter to the Social Security Commissioner Regarding Proposed Regulations Governing Nonpayment of Benefits to Fugitive Felons and Probation or Parole Violators, Judge Mary C. Morgan, Superior Court of California (2006)

Judge Morgan's letter expresses concerns about proposed regulations to implement the fugitive felon program, which withholds benefits from those believed to be fleeing prosecution. In the letter, Judge Morgan describes a 2004 fugitive felon case concerning a 50-year-old man living with AIDS whose benefits had been suspended improperly under the fugitive felon. The individual had been physically unable to attend the hearing, as well as severely mentally impaired, at the time a bench warrant was issued for his failure to appear. The case illustrates the danger of denying payment upon the mere existence of a warrant without a determination that the beneficiary intended to flee to avoid prosceution. The letter discusses how the proposed regulations do not adequately address this significant concern and urges reconsideration.