In Your Corner: Missing Social Security Check

By Ryan Elijah

December 23, 2011 Updated Dec 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Shortly after becoming eligible for Social Security benefits in 2009, Bonnie Smith's checks started arriving. It wasn't long before the amounts were more than she and her husband expected, in one instance $2,000 more, despite numerous phone calls and visits to the Social Security office, the checks kept coming.

"for nearly two years we couldn't get them to acknowledge that they were overpaying us. I would talk to them and try to tell them it was wrong and we would get another check", said Ken Smith.

After writing a check for nearly $6,000, the Smith's thought the ordeal was over, but they constantly dealt with a different person from the Social Security Administration. one month they'd receive a letter showing the check cashed; the next a bill showing they never paid.

In March, frustration led them to Congressman Marlin Stutzman's office. His office seemed to be making progress and confirmed the check was cashed, but then in October, Bonnie's benefits stopped arriving completely -the reason - the SSA said they still owed the $6,000.

"We can't talk to one person, you would think they'd want their money back. We thought this was going to be a simple fix and it's turned into a nightmare", said Bonnie Smith of Fort Wayne.

When it comes to big corporations and certainly large Government agencies, getting to the right person is crucial, but not always easy. We contacted an official with the Social Security office last Monday and within 48 hours, the Smith's multi-year problem was finally solved.

We found the Social Security Administration official we spoke with to be extremely cooperative, the SSA gave us this answer, the Smith's have waited nearly two years to hear: "The missing check was located and posted to her record, which resolved the entire overpayment and retroactively reinstated her benefits".

The Smith's tell us the back pay has already been deposited to their account and while they're very relieved their ordeal appears to be over, they're also frustrated they weren't able to solve the problem themselves despite a persistent effort for nearly two years.

The Smith's did the right thing going to their Congressman and they're grateful for the hard work they put in. Marlin Stutzman's office has 3 case workers that have closed 767 cases this year ranging from immigration to Social Security. Our Social Security program is the largest Government program in the world, accounting for nearly 20% of the U.S. budget. The Smith's are an example of how hard it can be to solve a problem when dealing with an agency so large.

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