Tax season is quickly approaching and millions of Americans are eagerly awaiting their tax refunds. But for some law abiding, tax paying citizens a tax return will never come. Instead they will receive a letter stating that their tax refund check has been assumed by the social security administration (SSA) to pay the debts of their parents. Even after SSA commissioner Carolyn Colvin promised that such egregious collections would cease and desist last April, children of deceased individuals with debts have started receiving notifications yet again.
In April, 2014, The Washington Post printed an expose on the SSAs efforts to take away the refund checks of the children whose parents, some many decades ago, were sent excess money intended for the care of said children when they were under the age of 18. Currently the SSA has collected over $75 million from unwitting citizens.
This latest confiscation of refund checks has raised questions of due process and abuse of power by government agencies. The SSA did not have to go to court to prove that the parents of these citizens were actually overpaid. Furthermore, the agency did not even inform them that their refund checks would be confiscated. Instead the organization just intercepted the federal and state refunds before they were sent to the adults whose parents supposedly owed the SSA money.
Mary Grice was one of many Americans who were sent a letter notifying her that her refund check was going to the SSA. The now 58 year old was shocked to find out that her refund was being taken due to the SSA’s overpayment of benefits to her mother relating to one of her siblings (the letter never stated which one). However Mary Grice did not take this laying down. After launching a media campaign against the SSA’s actions, the agency stated that it would stop taking the refund checks of children whose parents supposedly were overpaid decades ago. Grice received her refund back.
But after only 8 months, Mary Grice received another letter in the mail demanding she repay the money her mother allegedly owed.
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