A Corvallis man was floored last week when he received a letter from the Social Security Administration saying he has to pay nearly $2,000 by Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, due to a clerical error nearly 40 years ago.
Rudolph Weiglein said he was notified by the SSA that the agency had overpaid him on a claim, and he needs to pay back $1,995 to the government.
“At first, I thought for sure somebody stole my ID or my Social Security number or something,” he explained. “Because I didn’t have any claims with Social Security. So I called them and it turns out it was from when my father died in 1965 and my mother received survivor benefits.”
Weiglein said he was 11 years old when his father passed away, and he didn’t have any recollection of getting survivor benefits.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I talked to a guy at the SSA and I said, ‘Is this a joke?’ And he said, ‘No, it stays with you.’ He didn’t break it down or nothing. I can’t believe they are trying to collect an overpayment from almost 40 years ago. I don’t have any records from back then.” ...If you think it is a good idea that there is no statute of limitations on Social Security overpayments, how do you expect Mr. Weiglein to defend himself, to argue that he wasn't overpaid 40 years ago? It's more than possible that there wasn't really an overpayment back then. If there was an overpayment, Social Security probably can't explain how it happened. Is it fair to seize a person's benefits today to collect a 40 year old overpayment when neither the Social Security Administration nor the claimant involved has any idea how the overpayment got recorded in Social Security's records so long ago?