U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches Resolution with Local Counseling Center that Failed to Provide a Patient who is Deaf with Free Sign Language Interpreter
Detroit, MI-- U.S. Attorneys in Michigan and Ohio today announced a settlement agreement with Huntington National Bank that will make its services more accessible to Social Security Representative Payees (SSRP) and their beneficiaries with disabilities.
Huntington National Bank fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern District of Ohio, and Northern District of Ohio to reach a settlement that will restore access to people with disabilities who use SSRP online services the bank had previously restricted.
SSRPs manage Social Security benefits for people who are unable to do so for themselves, often due to disability. Benefits are direct deposited into accounts owned by beneficiaries, but only SSRPs have access to the funds to ensure that they are used to pay for needs such as food, shelter, and medical expenses. SSRPs are not compensated for this work and are usually family members or friends who are stepping up to help a loved one.
In February 2021, Huntington terminated the ability of individuals acting as SSRPs to use Huntington’s electronic banking services. Account holders with disabilities and their authorized representatives were thereby barred from full and equal access to the numerous online banking services Huntington offers.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits banks like Huntington from discriminating against account holders with disabilities.
Under the terms of the agreement, Huntington must provide SSRP account holders, and their beneficiaries, full access to its online banking system. The agreement also requires Huntington to notify both current and past account holders that it has changed its policies.
Dawn N. Ison, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; Rebecca C. Lutzko, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; and Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio announced the settlement.
“Collaborating with our partners to ensure our civil rights laws are enforced is one of my key priorities,” said Eastern District of Michigan U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. “Ensuring equal online banking access to those who need it most, like disabled individuals who use SSRP accounts, is crucial,” she added.
“SSRPs provide an invaluable service to disabled Social Security beneficiaries, and it is critical that we protect their right to use the same banking conveniences available to non-disabled customers to ensure that they can take care of the basic needs of disabled beneficiaries,” said Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko.
“This settlement shows that we will continue to staunchly enforce the ADA and give Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities equal access to online banking,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “I commend the attorneys in my office and our counterparts in Northern Ohio and Eastern Michigan for their dedication to this important issue.”
The full and fair enforcement of the ADA is a priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Northern District of Ohio, and the Southern District of Ohio.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nedra Campbell from the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Downey from the Southern District of Ohio, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heyer from the Northern District of Ohio.
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or experienced a civil rights violation in the Eastern District of Michigan can submit a complaint with its U.S. Attorney’s Office by email at email@example.com or by phone at (313) 226-9151. For more information on the Office’s civil rights efforts, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/programs/civil-rights.
Individuals can also submit complaints to the Civil Rights Division through its complaint portal at www.ada.gov/complaint. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.