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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13521
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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How or who do you contact in the SSA to finally resolve an

Customer Question

How or who do you contact in the SSA to finally resolve an incorrect monthly benefit amount ongoing now for 6 months, one that was finally acknowledged by a telephone agent on 3/1/16 in Seattle, WA, who told me he sent a 2560 request to the payment center and should be resolved in 2 weeks by me being contacted by phone or letter; this has not happened after 6 weeks. Calling back the 800# ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my name is***** and I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney in my private practice – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here is coming through for you by typing a quick reply. I would call or fax the same worker you spoke with. You can also follow up with a letter confirming what he told you, mailed certified return receipt so you get the green card back. This is how I'd start. Please know that generally, whenever there is a cog in the SSA wheel, which is fairly common in my experience, it takes MANY months of politely nagging and even involvement by one's Congressperson (who can make a "congressional inquiry"). Given that your problem is 6 months old AND 4 weeks after the agent said it should be resolved, I'd likely go to my Congressman's website and click the link for "help with a federal agency." Start there. Historically, until THIS year, ironically, I have always had success within 2-4 weeks. Not this year, however, as 2 outstanding cogs - 1 resolved after 5 months of the Congressman's team helping, and the other is still not fixed. But in any event, it nonetheless helps to have some politics at work. It is a pretty bad state of affairs right now at the SSA - in my opinion. Clerical errors always to the detriment of the claimant, beneficiary (or attorney) occur routinely. Yes, routinely. And it is getting a live, unlazy body in front of the issue that is so hard, with an agency that apparently has no accountability. For instance, if you are owed money, be sure that once you get paid, there will be no interest paid on YOUR money - yet certainly the SSA made interest on your money - and will keep it. It makes you wonder if the SSA has an incentive to purposely delay payments, no? Anyway, as stated, while you CAN right to the OIG and file a complaint perhaps about fraud or waste, I find that the next best thing to sending repeated requests is to get your Congressperson's assistance. I DO wish there were an office in the SSA that holds that administration accountable for its errors, but as of yet, not. Yet another thing to contact our legislators about.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gottenanything less, please reply back, I amhappy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent"when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it. Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.Your online SS legal resource!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I cannot fax or call the rep I spoke to on 3/1/16 and 3/2/16 when he called back; because even though he is the only one in numerous calls to ever give his full name and code ID in Seattle WA; all I have is the main(###) ###-####where no one will put me back into contact with him. They say they are not allowed to do this. Every rep has different story, i.e, where he had told me contact back within 2 weeks after a high priority 2560 he sent to the payment center; next rep after 2 weeks said no; it is 15 business days; then next rep said after 15 business days, no it is 45 calendar days, I keep track of when all calls are made and what little ID they give. There is NO transparency besides no accountability. When I went into a scheduled SSA appointment in October 2015;; the rep I spoke face to face refused to identify herself at all or to look at my spreadsheet calculations that my monthly amount I had just signed up for was wrong. All she would say was that all of the corrections would be made starting in the January 2016 payment which has never happened yet.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
OK, you should be calling your local SSA office and not the national hotline number. If you do not have the number to your local office, give me your zip and I can possibly get it for you. I agree with you about complete lack of transparency. It is ludicrous. You mention that they noted after 1/1 things get corrected - this leads me to wonder if you inaccuracies are based on the fact that you, perhaps, delayed retirement after age 66, for some period of time, and then when you restarted your benefits, you did not see the delayed retirement credits increase. Is that correct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Shephanie-
The office I fall under I'm told is*****NW, WASH DC 20037. I only see the same 800# ***** google for this SSA office.
I sent a certified letter on 2/16/16 to this office which I tracked they received and still nothing.
I applied on line to start in Sept, 2015 which gave 1st check in Oct, 2015, I turned 69 in Oct, 2015.
The agent on March 2 that I worked with said he saw they had only given me 27 months credit instead of 35 months past FRA, In addition I also calculated since that they did not give me any COLA credit of 1.7% for 2015.
My wages in 2015 were ~41K over what my lowest of the 35 highest indexed earnings were and I'm told that will not be considered until at the earliest Oct of this year even though the amount has been shown on my online account since early Feb.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
I do believe that the correction does take place WAY later than your filed taxes, simply because they may run that for everyone at the same, possibly, and returns with extension have a legitimate Oct filing date. So 2015 number definitely wouldn't be run just because you filed your return in Feb. Given that newer info as for the circumstances surrounding the inaccurate amount (the typical lag with crediting DRCs), as well as the necessity of waiting for 2015 tax returns in general before running the computer for the annual PIA recalculations for workers - I don't think that your Congressperson would make headway. This is simply because technically, the SSA has not made an error and is not late by its own standards. Annoying delay in our calculations updates (and you have more than one kind applicable), but not in advertent by the SSA. This is simply the schedule. Even new claimants for, say disability, often have an original benefit amount because their very recently ended work income has not gone from IRS to SSA to computer program that calculates the benefit amount - so the benefit amount is made without, say, that last year of work income included. Later, however, during the annual recalculation, that newer number is ***** included, potentially changing the individual's PIA. At that time, they may get a lump sum check for that correction, and then their new better check each month prospectively. Anyway, as annoying as the fact is that we don't see the fruits of our efforts immediately when it comes to SS, I don't think you have anything to worry about - this is SOP for the SSA and all should work out by end of 2016. If it doesn't, I'd start squeaking and likely get your Congressperson on board, as something would likely be awry.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can understand the delay in credit for 2015 wages. How can it be SOP that they left out 8 months of credit; only gave 27 months instead of 35 months past FRA of age 66; when I first applied to start receiving benefits with first check in OCT 2015 and also left out the COLA for 2015?
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
That would not be SOP, leaving out 8 months. But you said the agent mentioned he was only seeing 27 but what about you? What do your numbers say? I'd trust your math more than the agent, as they tend to have less then full knowledge. Also, although you haven't shown the math you must have done to arrive at your conclusions, I haven't seen it, so I really can't speculate. But you are saying that you got COLA for the year you were 66 (2012), 67 (2013), 68 (2014) but not 69 (2015)? And where did you get this info from - did they put it itemized in your award letter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My figures were total 35 month FRA; thta's why I am saying they owe me 8 months, credit. Minus the 8 months credit plus minus the 1.7% COLA for 2015 exactly equals the amount in the awards letter that I'm getting every month for the past 6 months. No, there was no itemized breakdown in their documentation. I followed all of their formulas to arrive at my conclusions and no forum as of yet for them to show anything different.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
OK, so you HAVE created the itemization showing where they erred, that you can show them. I'd get my appointment, present it (you may have already) and contact the Congressperson to get it inquired... of course, you still won't have it perfected given the wait til late 16 for the 2015 numbers and the SSA may take the position that all the missings will be handled when the recalculations are done - but it might not, and I'd argue that point anyway, since the errors are not part of the recalc process, but errors that should be timely corrected - and it is worth getting the Congressperson onboard sooner rather than later, if for no other reason that the errors will be confirmed now, rather than at the SSA's otherwise slow schedule, with regard to which it generally has no accountability for. This is why so many people are so aggreived - they have no word as to when something will be made a priority to be resolve - no word, so there is no firm date to be patient FOR.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Urgent! There is just one more step needed, so thank you for finishing up! Hello again. It is month end -Please, if you haven't yet had the opportunity to do either of the items below, I ask that you do so now, because it is the only way I can receive credit for time spent with you. Please:1) Follow up if clarification is needed on our above interaction/Q&A, OR2) Rate me highly if we are finished for the time being. If there's more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know how I can be of further assistance. It's my goal to provide you with excellent service- to make sure I answered the question you asked about. Please rate me highly and provide me with feedback. And thanks for understanding how we receive credit from the Site for contributing our time here! Sincerely,Stephanie O. Joy, Esq. – Your Online Legal Professional