May 6, 2013

Is This A Good Idea?

     From the Montgomery Advertiser:
Michelle Clampit expected financial relief to arrive soon in the form of an income tax refund check. She was counting on it, in fact. ...

But no deposit was made, and when she checked the IRS website to find out what happened, she was referred to the Social Security Administration.

The Wetumpka resident said she had no idea she possibly could have owed money to the SSA. After all, she had never received a single Social Security check in her life. ...

Eventually, however, the actual reason for the debt became clear: Social Security payments made to her now-deceased mother 29 years ago. ...
The tax refund was diverted by way of the Treasury Offset Program, which until recently was not authorized to collect on debts that were more than 10 years old, SSA spokesman BJ Jarrett said.

A law passed in 2008 eliminated the 10-year statute of limitations, and in June 2012, the SSA began to inform people about its intention to collect those older debts, Jarrett said. ...

The agency has sent about 185,000 notices to people with debts that are more than 10 years old, Jarrett said.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

No it is not clear that she is liable for an overpayment to her deceased mother unless she was payee or had a joint bank account and spent the direct deposited funds after her mother's death.

Anonymous said...

185,000 notices to addresses that are over 10 years old. I foresee no problems.

Anonymous said...

The children received survivor's benefits (which went to the mother); that money was used for their benefit. It is perfectly appropriate to go after the daughter for repayment of benefits to her that she was not due -- it was her marriage at age 14 that resulted in benefits needing to be ceased.

It appears SSA could have done a better job of notifying the woman that her tax refund would be taken to repay the debt. However, if her claim of living in poverty is true, then she will likely get the money back -- because she was a child when the benefits were received, she is automatically without fault. Probably will not be hard to show that recovery defeats the purpose of Title II.

Anonymous said...

I think it was a good idea to remove the ten year limit. Absolutes are hard to come by and most things in life are "not fair" nor should they be. Everyone wants money. Everyone wants these programs funded, but no one wants to be "responsible" for anything. That's just the way it is now, I suppose we'll have to get used to that way if life.

Anonymous said...

How does one with 20,000 salary get a 5,000'ntax return?????

Anonymous said...

Earned income credit provides a refundable credit for low income workers in addition to any refund they may be due from taxes withheld from their paycheck. Workers with children get an even higher credit. This is probably the source of her missing refund.

Anonymous said...

Read the whole article. The woman was getting survivor benefits from her deceased father. Then her mother gave permission for her to get married at age 14 (yes, age 14). Marriage is a terminating event for survivor benefits. The mother obviously didn't bother to tell SSA that her minor child was now a wife. It was probably discovered as part of a payee accounting or some other stewardship review. The mother obviously didn't read the reporting instructions for the benefits that she was receiving. The mother did not do her job properly. But then the liability question will also be based on whether or not the payee spent the money on the child. If so, the child is liable because they got the benefit of the money. And the person who knows the answer is now deceased. Did the mother commit fraud by spending the funds on herself rather than on the minor married daughter? The mother was informed that there was an overpayment; of that there is no doubt. She ignored it and now SSA is able to get recovery from the beneficiary of the overpaid funds. There are two words that could describe this mother and honest is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Right on point. These are the "dirty secrets" of SSA that most people never get to experience unless you work for the agency. I'm sure the average person would something like "she needed the money" or "she didn't know what to report". The problem is, these aren't isolated cases. They are very common and a drain on the system. Is SSA just supposed to look the other way because people need the money?

Anonymous said...

nope