Social Security Administration raids dead man's account

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Barbara Nelson said she and her sister have fond memories of their dad.

"Just a really nice guy,” she said of her father.

But, unfortunately, their father recently passed away.

Tom Tobin went in for his annual exam where doctors discovered he had cancer.

He died just months after the diagnosis at the age of 79, which came as a shock because Tobin was relatively healthy.

"Not a drinker and not a smoker,” Nelson said. “He took multivitamins every day and that was the extent of it."

Following his death, Nelson, a co-executor for her father's estate, began reviewing Tobin's finances and realized that the Social Security Administration had raided her dad's bank account a few weeks after his death and removed a lot of money.

“Twelve days after he passed I got a note from the bank saying that $24,000 had been removed from his account,” she explained.

Nelson said the Social Security Administration recorded her dad's death as Feb. 10, 2010, but his death certificate clearly indicates Feb. 10, 2012.

As a result, the Social Security Administration was under the impression that they had provided a dead man retirement benefits for the past two years, so they raided his account to recoup their money.

Nelson said dealing with the Social Security Administration has been a nightmare. She said taking the money was easy for the agency. However, getting the Social Security Administration to put it back, well, that's been next to impossible.

Nelson said she's called the agency and even visited their offices to clear up the almost $25,000 mistake -- a mistake she said they acknowledge.
  
But she can't seem to get Social Security to return the money, and she's hoping 3 On Your Side might be able to do something.

"I understand errors are made,” Nelson said, “but that would be the final outcome -- to put it back in as soon as possible.”

3 On Your Side got a hold of the SSA and asked them to look into the matter. The good news is they corrected the error at my request and the agency tells me they will return the money by the end of this week.

That's great news for Nelson, who credits 3 On Your Side for making things happen so quickly.