Last January her ex husband, from a 14-year marriage, passed away. She went to her local office in Naples, Florida and applied for her excess divorced widow’s benefit. The agent who took all the information was pleasant, stating she’d be receiving a large increase — over $1,000 more per month, as her ex was receiving a very large benefit. Corrine was also told her higher payment would commence in March. Every month from March onward she has called Social Security’s Call Center as well as visited the Naples office in person to learn why she has yet to receive her excess divorced widows benefit. Each time she has been assured she is eligible and will receive both the increase along with unpaid amounts within a couple of weeks. And each time, she has received absolutely nothing.
In May the agent handling her case told Corrine that his second wife and Corrine were both seeking widow’s benefit on his record and that Social Security had to wait for the Treasury Department to release the funds. This makes no sense as Corrine’s right to her divorce widow’s benefit has nothing to do with whether her ex husband’s second wife is also collecting widow’s benefits on his record.
It’s now September. Corrine has contacted a lawyer in Naples who has a client in the very same situation who applied in February this year for survivor’s benefits and Social Security is ignoring their legal paperwork as well. Even a reputable law office is being snubbed.
Corrine is desperately poor and needs the extra income, which is fully hers! Social Security’s failure to pay her and who knows how many others their benefits on time represents nothing less than theft.
Andrew Saul, As the new Commissioner of Social Security, perhaps you can pick up the phone and find out how many Corrine Harkins you are defrauding each month and fix the problem. This is what we, the people, are paying you for. To fix Social Security’s incredible, major and ongoing bureaucratic mistakes — not rip off poor 70-year old ladies who are living hand to mouth.