Skip to comments.Shakedown: Treasury now seizing tax refunds from adult children to pay parentsí decades-old SS debts
Posted on 04/13/2014 6:16:18 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
When I say debts, I dont mean loans that the parents willingly sought from SSA. It would be bad enough to hold a kid responsible for that (since when are children responsible for their parents obligations?), but at least it would have been voluntarily incurred by mom/dad. The debts here are overpayments of Social Security benefits, the product of SSAs own errors. The parents who received them might not have even realized they were getting money they werent supposed to have. And now, somehow, its juniors problem.
But wait. It gets worse.
When [Mary] Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family its not sure who in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Marys money, rather than her surviving siblings, is a mystery
It was a shock, said Grice, 58. What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they cant prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.
Social Security officials told Grice that six people Grice, her four siblings and her fathers first wife, whom she never knew had received benefits under her fathers account. The government doesnt look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.
SSA insists that they did send notice to a P.O. Box that Grice hasnt owned for 35 years, even though they have her current address.
How can they demand restitution for a mistaken payment made in the late 1970s, let alone from someone who didnt even receive it? Because: The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds. Treasury has collected more than $400 million since then on very old obligations, many of them below the radar of public scrutiny because the amounts are often small enough, i.e. a few hundred dollars, that the targets find its cheaper to pay up than to fight. Its a shakedown, based on the flawed assumption that a child not only must have benefited from the overpayment to his parent but that he/she received the entirety of the benefit, with little proof offered that the debt even exists. (One man who was forced to pay demanded a receipt from SSA affirming that his balance was now zero. The SSA clerk told him hed put in the request but that the man shouldnt expect to receive anything.) The only reason youre hearing about Grices case, I think, is because they went after her for thousands, not hundreds, of dollars, which was enough of a hit to make her get a lawyer. Turns out that the feds had seized and then continued to hold her federal and state refunds, an amount greater than $4,400 even though they were only demanding $2,996 from her to pay off her fathers debt. Lo and behold, once WaPo found out and started asking questions, the $1,400 excess was promptly returned to her. Amazing how fast bureaucracy can move when someone looks behind the curtain.
The whole thing is Kafkaesque opaque, oppressive, arbitrary, and sinister in its indifference to making sure the right person pays so long as someone does. After reading the story, its not obvious to me whats stopping Treasury from demanding a payment from every taxpayer whose parents are dead. If the chief witnesses are gone and the feds dont have to prove that a child actually received any benefits from overpayment, the only check on this process is SSAs willingness to tell the truth about who owes them money and how much. You trust them, dont you?
Exit question from Karl: Isnt holding children responsible for their parents retirement debts the governing model of the Democratic Party?
And for all this trouble with dubious debts they are getting what, enough to run Washington for five minutes?
Ah, but it’s cool. “It’s a tax.”
Ah, but try getting money back retroactively from them. If your refund is more than three year old, you get zip credit.
Also if both you and your spouse paid SS, only one gets a check. how about that.
Kind of like the way the BLM also quickly backed down when the Reid/ChiCom land grab for solar power came to light.
check if they going after gop donors using this as an excuse
This just isn’t right(morally speaking).
If the Republicans had a brain, they would beat 0bama and the Dems over the head with this every day, from now until November.
Therein lies the rub.
All this urgency language is the same as a police brutality video. There is no reason in 90% of those cases for the cops to hurry people or force them to say something.
This whole culture has me incensed.
That liberals buy or support this crypto dictatosprship executive orders language of Obama is absolute evil.... coming for the people who always cry for the like of mumiah jamal or Rodney King.
The Occutards and the brutalizing government are one and the same.
Talk about a marriage penalty.
“Also if both you and your spouse paid SS, only one gets a check. how about that.”
Don’t believe that’s true...
The number one thing to learn from this...do not have more withheld than your tax liability so that you can get ‘a refund’ . . . when you have too much withheld, you are loaning the gov’t money interest free . . . and when they do this kind of shit, you are SOL
I thought debt-bondage was outlawed by treaty.
“Also if both you and your spouse paid SS, only one gets a check. how about that.”
That is pure, unadultrated BS! I get a check, my wife gets a check. And when we applied for hers, they figured it several ways...her earnings, and her check based on my earnings. She gets more based on my earnings. WE BOTH GET A CHECK!
Let me rephrase that.
A woman who never worked gets her man’s SS after he died.
But a woman who contributed to SS has to choose whether to get her man’s or her’s, not both if he dies.
Not after one of you dies.
Are we quiet meek serfs? Controlled by mocking and shaming on tv?
When will we take back our free country?
Who voted for that farm bill???
You would think there is a statue of limitation on repayment.
Holding the children responsible for what happened to the parents is not going to go over well with the public.
BTW, what about underpayment. Will the government be sending out checks too?
“A woman who never worked gets her mans SS after he died.
But a woman who contributed to SS has to choose whether to get her mans or hers, not both if he dies.”
My spouse is a couple of years older than I and she went on SS before I did. She got a small amount based on what she paid in.
When I went on SS, they sent her a lump sum settlement based on my higher earnings plus they then based her SS on my earnings going forward. This doubled her payment going forward, but not only that they paid her for the years before I retired at the higher rate.
How is that not fair?
Agree. This whole things sounds like more Obama harassment, IRS/NSA/Chicago-thug style.
Owe them money at the end of the year.
“If the Republicans had a brain”
They’re not called “The Stupid Party” for nothing.
“Not after one of you dies.”
That was not the premise of what you stated. Yes, we both get SS checks until one of us dies. Then only one. You did not state that condition. We both get our respective checks. And neither is enough to compensate for what was put into the system. I would have millions in a bank account if I had been able to invest my contribution plus my employers contribution.
So they’re bringing back debtor’s prisons, too?
Meanwhile the Pigford settlement wastes tons more.
It is only prudent and wise to try to match your with-holding to the amount you will actually owe. Paying a little more on April 15 if need be can make up for some morally diseased bureaucrat taking a chunk of your refund without your knowledge or consent. Just try to get that illegally confiscated money back.
That’s not true either.
My Grandmother (God rest her Soul) didn’t get a DIME of my Grandfathers check.
I once got a bill from the IRS for a little over a hundred bucks. There was no reason given why I owed the money not even the year I owed it for. Called my CPA and lawyer read the letter to them and was told just to pay up and forget it. I did and though this was in the 90’s I am still poed about it. It was a test I think to see if I would pay up for no reason and I have always wondered how many other people got the same type letter. By the way the Feds have never liked me very much.
Absolutely. And not just because of crap like this. Any refund you get is an interest-free loan you made to Fedzilla.
War on kids
And the Feds can’t even document whether you ever received any of the benefits or not - the actual recipient of the money coulda blown it all at the track for all they know ...