A local retiree is outraged at the federal government. First, he finds out the government mistakenly overpaid his Social Security benefits for years. Then he had to give back more than $10,000 to settle up. Now, a second government accounting error could cost him thousands more. ...
Last summer, the Social Security Administration told Thurman because of an accounting error, the agency had accidentally paid him too much. For almost five years, Thurman got a disability payment and a full Social Security payment. ...
When it finally caught the mistake, the agency told Thurman he had to give back the overpayment, or his benefits would get cut. So Thurman went down to the social security office in Louisville and agreed to settle up.
"What's it take to pay you people off so I'll be totally clear?" Thurman said he asked the SSA worker. "They said $10,155. I said all right I'll give you your money right now. She said you're going to give it to me? I said yeah."
Thurman received two letters from Social Security showing he paid what he was asked, and that he and the government were square. ...
But just weeks later, Social Security told Thurman they goofed up again, making yet another accounting error. This time, Social Security told Thurman the amount repaid was thousands short of what he really owed. Social Security wanted another $6,758. And once again, the agency threatened to cut Thurman's benefits if he didn't pay.
"I thought these people gotta be crazy, on dog food," Thurman said with a laugh. "Something's wrong with em you know?"
Thurman went back and forth with Social Security for months. He even asked Congressman John Yarmouth's office for help, without any luck. But after we started asking questions, the Social Security Administration looked into Thurman's case and said mistakes were made.
"We have apologized to him," said Patti Patterson, a Social Security Administration spokesperson.
Patterson said SSA is now going back to the beginning to find out exactly how much Thurman was paid, and how much he should have been paid because they still aren't sure.
"It's unfortunate that not only have we not paid him correctly, we have not given him clear information," Patterson said. "And we're going to correct that." ...
Patterson told us mistakes like this do not happen often and said Thurman's case is more complicated than most because of the nature of his disability payment. Patterson said SSA hopes to be finished with its review and have a decision on the case within a week.
May 22, 2010
"Gotta Be Crazy, On Dog Food"
From WAVE in Louisville:
Field office employees: Do you think this one qualifies for an "against equity and good conscience" waiver? I suppose it happens but I don't think I've ever seen a field office do a waiver of that sort. And to non-field office employees: This exact problem is uncommon but overpayments due to Social Security errors are not rare and difficulties in computing the amount of an overpayment are routine.