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Social Security Ripp-Off!!!

Jim had been on the computer and had gotten some information from the Social Security web site. According to Jim’s understanding his Social Security payments should be higher than what we were getting.

After our border crossing into Calexico and our breakfast at McDonald’s we headed off to El Centro, which is about 10 miles north-west of Calexico to pay a visit to the Social Security office.

Once inside, we took our seats, and waited for our turn.  Fortunately, it was not crowded, and soon we were both sitting in front of the nice gentleman, behind the counter. Jim had his questions ready.

Jim and I wanted to know what our Medicare status was.   We explained to the officer that, we both lived in Mexicali, surviving on our Social Security checks.  Jim explained to the officer, that even after having seen a doctor in El Centro, using his Medicare card, Jim got billed from the doctor for $100 of which Medicare paid only $40 bucks!

The officer said that it appeared to be right, but he pointed out that $96 was being taken out of our Social Security check, every month for the privilege of getting Medicare payments for seeing private doctors. If we wanted to cancel that, we would still have our hospital coverage.

We had no idea!  Who would have known? We did a fast calculation, and figured we had spent thousands of dollars over the years through these automatic deductions from our checks! Wow! We never came close to spending anything like that for doctor visits. We opted out of that part of Medicare…pronto!

Our medical needs are attended to by Dr Arturo, in Mexicali, which included re-fills of Jim’s gout medications, and my pinched nerve pills.

We were thrilled that we were able to get another $96 a month from Social Security!

It didn’t stop there. Jim asked how they calculated our Social Security payments. The nice officer behind the desk suggested that we might check just to make sure all of Jim’s FICA payments for Social Security had been properly recorded – if we just waited a couple of minutes, we could check this with a lady in the back office.

It was well worth the wait. The lady was very nice, and gave us a computer print-out of Jim’s recorded income taxpayments. Jim had worked and paid taxes for 46 years, Social Security had him down for only 28 years of payments – they had missed out on 18 years!!!

Jim could barely speak, but composed himself.

Strangely, Social Security had him down for paying $55 social security tax when he was 18! It seemed that Social Security was counting Jim’s worst years. From 1994 through 2002, when Jim worked full time, Social Security had him down for only one year of work!

Now, Jim is true blue, but I could see he was steamed up over this, as well he should be.

How much had Social Security gypped us over the years?

Jim took out his handkerchief, wiped the sweat from his brow, and asked the lady what we could do.

She answered that we would have to produce tax returns, W2’s, Schedule C and Schedule E for those years. If we could produce the information, she could make the proper adjustments, and our social security payments could well be higher.  “We must average your best 35 years of earnings to figure the benefit amount,” said the lady.

“And you’ve got me down for only 28 years, one of which is for $55, and another for $480,” said Jim, to be sure.

“Correct,” answered the lady.

The obvious question I could have asked, is “Doesn’t the IRS have a record of all the tax we paid, and copies of our returns? Why do we have to come up with all the information?” However, with these people you had better be polite, so I held my tongue, and so did Jim.

Now we’ve been moving around like gypsies since Jim retired. Sure we have a lot of stuff in boxes, and in storage, but when can we be able to come up with the tax returns? Hopefully, Jim probably saved a lot of our tax returns – that’s the way he is.

We thanked the lady, and told her we would be back with the returns, and who knows when that will be?

Hopefully, someday, we will get a boost in our payments. It’s a crime that with all their computers and stuff that Social Security has got so much wrong and is missing information from the IRS.

Well, at least we walked away $96 a month richer, if that’s really being richer.

I wonder how many other people are getting less for their years of hard work than they should.

Plenty, I bet.

10 comments to Social Security Ripp-Off!!!

  • We hope we helped others to learn, as well.
    God Bless,

  • Quite the tale, but at least you learned from your experiences.

  • One of our other readers planned to move to Mexicali, but would have lost his disability benefits. We suggested that he stay in Calexico, which is immediately adjacent to Mexicali, so he would not lose his benefits. He is planning to work in Mexicali which is possible to do when you live in Calexico, and vice versa. I too am on pain medication, and I guess it’s not fair, unless the healthcare system is fixed (in spite of the big boys).
    God Bless,

  • Tamaman

    To finish my post
    I don’t know if I could even hold down a part time job because of the chronic pain and medication I take but it just seems unfair to the ones that may be able to work part time, every little bit helps.

  • Tamaman

    I have BCBS and Medicare. What Medicare doesn’t pay BCBS pays the rest. I am on social security disability and I get (In line of duty disability) from work so I was able to keep my insurance from work. The check I get from work keeps me from trying to work again because if I do I will loose that check and Insurance. I don’t know if I

  • Wow, quite the interesting story. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the US government. Anything that size just can’t run smoothly.

    You can request back IRS returns for free, maybe that will help if you can’t find them.

  • Kaye

    WOW – good to know! I wonder how this affects widows whose husbands died a few years prior to eligibility! That could make for a double headache!!!

  • Kaye: It has been a real learning experience. Don’t just keep your returns, but check every couple of years with Social Security what they have credited to your account – they will send you a statement. The IRS may not honor old returns if they too do not have a copy (or so they say). God Bless, MaryAnn

  • Kaye

    WOW! I’m so sorry you’re in the midst of that but what great info to share! We are always being told to toss stuff older than 7 years, but I’m going to tell my kids and my readers to save their taxes and w-2s FOREVER! Thank you 🙂

  • […] Harding presents a real life look at a Social Security Rip Off posted at Mexicali MaryAnn. Makes you wonder what you’re paying for that you shouldn’t […]

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