As if My Daughter’s Mental Health Struggles Weren’t Enough!

My daughter, Caitlin, struggles with depression/anxiety as well as other disorders. When she became symptomatic in young adulthood, we had major doubts she could ever reach a point where she could support herself. Fifteen years later, I’m relieved that she’s found some degree of equilibrium after a lot of work at recovery and amassing a mental health toolbox. She is now capable of holding down part-time work.
She received SS payments when she was both in residential treatment and transitioned to a group home. When she was well enough to start some part-time work, I assisted her in the mandatory reporting of her monthly wages to SS. WITHOUT FAIL, EVERY MONTH, I faxed copies of her paycheck stubs to the various assigned SS caseworkers to show exactly what she was earning. AT NO TIME, did any of her assigned SS caseworkers raise a red flag about the payments she was receiving.
After seven years, she received notice that the steadiness of her employment and paycheck no longer made her qualify for SS – which was fine. We understood that the resource could be directed to more needy individuals. However, in 2018, we received the claw-back notice for the amount of $6500. We immediately filed an appeal, and subsequently spoke to a SS representative. We thought the situation was settled. NO! Another claw-back notice came in 2022. We noticed on the form that Caitlin was entitled to present her case to an SS hearing officer. So, motivated by the injustice of this set of circumstances, we made repeated phone calls to the Elgin, IL SS office. When someone finally answered we requested the hearing. No correspondence from SS came after that, in spite of two letters we sent repeating our request.
I’m assuming, at this point, that no news is good news …. but who knows. There are many things that are upsetting about this story. However, most upsetting is that my daughter was barely making federal poverty-level annual wages at the time of the claw-back notice; yet, SS expected her to simply come up with $6500 as if she had it readily available. Clearly, this was the epitome of bureacratic indifference.

Terry Says

Thank you for posting.  Sharing your story helps others understand they are not alone.  And it helps us pressure the  Congress to fix these situations immediately.  I don’t think anyone has ever gathered all these stories together in one place so people in power can see the impact of this cruel and inept Social Security bureaucracy.

Here’s what we are aiming for — as fast as possible!

  1. Complete Moratorium on Clawbacks
  2. Reinstatement of all suspended benefits
  3. An independent hearing on EACH case before any demands or cuts
  4. An 18-month Statute of Limitations on Clawbacks

Sharing YOUR story helps us help others!  Thank you!