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Commentary

Social Security Admin Stole Thousands from Dead Woman, Family Still Waiting for Repayment

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The family of a recently deceased woman is fighting the Social Security Administration for thousands of dollars illegitimately taken from her bank account — and the government doesn’t seem particularly keen on doing anything about it.

“Days after a suburban man’s mother died, he noticed large withdrawals from her bank account,” Chicago’s WBBM-TV reported.

“Tim Carlberg feels beaten down by his almost four-month battle with the Social Security Administration.

“Less than 10 days after his 89-year-old mother died in August, someone from the Social Security office electronically swooped in and withdrew five payments from her bank account. The problem is, they were only supposed to take back one payment, from the month she died.”

In just three days, the overzealous bureaucrats at the SSA took $7,028 more than they were entitled to. To most people, that means the agency stole it.

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When Carlberg called Social Security, according to WBBM, he was told the agency had the wrong date of death in the system. While Dorothy Carlberg, a resident of suburban Chicago, died on Aug. 21, the administration had it entered as March 21. The fact that the mistake was acknowledged, Carlberg figured, was a sign it would soon be fixed.

Does Social Security owe this family a public apology?

“I thought everything was taken care of the first time I talked to somebody, but here we are three months later,” Carlberg told the station.

Carlberg has submitted forms to get the money back. He’s made dozens of phone calls. After all of that virtual legwork, however, it doesn’t seem like he’s any closer to getting that money back.

“We can’t get any answers. That’s the biggest frustration,” Carlberg told WBBM.

“Nobody seems to know, and then they don’t let you talk to anybody to get the answers. And then it changes.”

“You feel like no one’s fighting for you,” he added.

It’s somewhat reminiscent of that old Lily Tomlin sketch involving the phone company: We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the federal government. Lest you think I’m being flippant here, that’s more or less what the agency told WBBM.

“A Social Security spokesperson says he can’t comment on any specific case,” the station reported.

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“When CBS 2 pressed him about how long, hypothetically, it should take to remedy an error made on Social Security’s end, he’d only say they work closely with those impacted to get it corrected as quickly as possible.”

And how would they be rectifying it “as quickly as possible?” According to Carlberg, by requesting the birth certificates of everyone in his family.

That’s not a joke. I know, regular readers are probably familiar with the fact I occasionally resort to hyperbole to make certain points. This isn’t one of those times. Paper pushers at the Social Security Administration (a paragon of inefficiency) actually need the birth certificates of everyone in Carlberg’s family to rectify an error they apparently openly admit to making.

Our government at work, folks.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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