A heart-wrenching story out of Florida reminds residents here in Illinois of how deeply mistakes made by the Social Security Administration can affect people. This is especially true if they take away benefits from people who need them the most.
In November 2012, a 36-year-old mother received a letter from the Social Security Administration office regarding her benefits. It was weird, she thought, because she had never received communications surrounding her benefits since she began receiving them for herself and her two disabled children, ages 10 and 12, several years ago. Her heart sank though when she read the letter. They were suspending her benefits because of a miscalculation on the government's part.
The 36-year-old mother of two, who has a learning disability, has little income. Her children's father is in prison and doesn't pay child support and her part-time job as a dishwasher pays just under $9 an hour. She had been relying on federal assistance programs, as well as the benefits she was receiving from SSDI and SSI benefits for her and her children's disabilities.
For years, they were getting by on the just over $1,300 a month they were receiving in benefits until the letter notified her that the administration had been calculating her benefits incorrectly, culminating in an overpayment of a little less than $35,000.
The SSA says the fault is hers, blaming her for failing to follow protocol. She tells a different story, pointing out that she had been reporting her work income as required to receive benefits; it wasn't her fault the information wasn't being passed on correctly to the division handling her SSDI.
Now, in an effort to reclaim the benefits the SSA as recently suspended, the woman has filed an appeal with Social Security and hopes that her case can be heard by an administrative law judge soon.
Source: NewsChief.com, "Miscalculation Threatens Family's SSI Benefits," Eric Pera, Jan. 27, 2013