Jan 19, 2014

Being Told You're A Prisoner When You're Not Sucks

     Can you imagine having the Social Security benefits you depend upon being cut off with no warning on the grounds that you're a prisoner even though you've never been in prison in your life? It happens much more often than you'd think.
     I had a client who was suddenly cut off benefits. When I asked what was going on, I was told that my client was in prison in New Mexico. My client gave a classic response: "I've never been in Mexico in my life!" The New Mexico prison authorities told me that they had no record of any inmate with either the name or Social Security number of my client. It took two months to get the benefits resumed.


Anonymous said...

Got calls from two former clients last week who saw their SSI cut to I believe $40.00 because they had been patents in private hospitals where Medicaid paid the bill.

I am guessing that this is now being a point of emphasis with perhaps a financial incentive to the hospital to report (as jails once were done)

Anonymous said...

Since Medicaid and SSI are both federal programs I am confident that it was merely a computer interface that resulted in the reduction of benefits. I doubt that any financial incentive was paid to the hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Something like this happening to somebody is inexcusable. By agency policy, employees are required to send an advance notice to the beneficiary before suspending benefits. If the report was a first party report, a 10 day notice is required. However, if it is a result of a computer match (like Mr. Ortiz's case likely was), they are supposed to give a 30 day advance notice before suspending benefits.

Now, I do see a lot of claimants who ignore the advance notices and don't bother to call until they don't get a check (i.e. the "you mean, you were serious?" claimants). However, with identity mismatches, those folks usually as you can guess will call immediately.

It also doesn't help when the jails (who have signed agreements to report in return for payments) do a piss poor job of submitting data (i.e. submitting mis-identifications, showing prisoners as convicted when they haven't even been arraigned yet, etc). However, that is a totally different issue.