From The Columbian:
MEDFORD, Ore. — Wanda Ames was elated when she received a letter from the Social Security Administration over what she thought was a one-time increase on her disability check.
“At first I was happy,” the 56-year-old Medford woman said. “I thought they were giving me extra money. I thought I was going to get 260 extra dollars.”
For someone who lives on $766 a month from Social Security plus $350 for food stamps, the small windfall would have been a big help, especially as she worries that she and her husband may lose their modest west Medford house because they can’t afford the payments. Her 55-year-old husband, Michael, is unemployed and looking for work.
But when Ames read the Sept. 30 letter a little more carefully, she discovered she actually owed Social Security $260.40, apparently as the result of a payment made to her mother when Ames was a child more than 40 years ago.
The letter from Social Security warned her that her December check would be reduced, which she said would be a major blow to her pocketbook.“If it isn’t one bomb, it’s another,” she said.
Ames, who has spinal arthritis and other health issues, found out she’s not the only one to receive letters from Social Security about decades-old bills.
“Of course, it’s not an isolated situation,” said Dorothy Clark in the Social Security press office. Clark said she didn’t have specifics on the number of letters the agency has sent out for back payments.
The law requires that Social Security do this. Congressional Republicans seem to lack interest in changing the law.