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Social Security comes after man for $895 overpayment they made to his mom

7:11 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Imagine if your parent received an over-payment from the government but decades later, the government took the money out of your tax return. 

Gilbert Stokes, 60, of Jacksonville, said it happened to him.

"I'm angry," Stokes said Wednesday morning.

Stokes felt the same way when he received a letter from the Social Security Administration in January.

"[The letter] said [SSA] was going to withhold my taxes unless I contacted about this social security over-payment," Stokes explained.

Forty-two years ago in 1971, Stokes' mother Ruby Lee received an over-payment of $895 while he was in the Navy.

"My first impression was someone was trying to punk me," he said.

Stokes' mother died five years ago. 

"They only show this one letter being sent. And it's an over-payment that they can go out and get their money," Stokes said. "That's the office response to my question about the delay."

Stokes said the government took matters into its own hands and deducted the money from his recent tax refund.

"I just couldn't believe it," he said.

It turns out, the Social Security number attached to it all, according to Stokes, belonged to his father. 

The two have the same name.

"It's a frustration, because now they've asked me to fill out this request for waiver of over-payment recovery," Stokes said.

It is a process Stokes believes could have been avoided decades earlier.

"It's on me to respond to their error," he said.

Wednesday evening, Social Security Administration public affairs specialist, Dez Thornton released a statement saying:

"We have notified the appropriate staff about Mr. Stokes' concerns and he will be contacted directly. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot discuss individual cases."

For more information about this, visit the Social Security Administration website or call 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local office.

First Coast News

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