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Hundreds of viewers voice problems, concerns with social security benefits

Posted: 6:30 PM, Sep 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-12 17:27:29-05

Our 5 On Your side investigation into problems with how your social security benefits are handed out has tens of thousands of people around the country talking this week.

Investigator Jonathan Walsh broke several stories about questionable tactics by the Social Security Administration.

Whether it's survivors' benefits, where a spouse dies and you might be eligible for payments, or social security money being taken away because you worked a government job and get a pension, News 5 Cleveland has received hundreds of responses to our feedback form, and tens of thousands more views of our online coverage from concerned citizens across the nation.

One viewer wrote: "It is so unfair to not be able to receive what I paid into social security just because I was hired in a county government job."

A teacher responded that they have "little hope....started teaching late in life...big mistake financially..."

Another response: "this is a rip off to Ohioans that worked all their life and save for retirement then social security takes it away..."

They are talking about the windfall elimination provision and the government pension offset, where, if you get a pension from a government job, you could be penalized with half the money or less of what you are eligible.

April Roberts, who calls herself a professional advocate when it comes to social security complaints and solutions, said she has hundreds of clients and warns people their problems could be long-term.

"For agencies that require a fix, it's like turning around a battleship,” Roberts said. “It's not something where there's a quick fix. Unfortunately, with a quick fix, you see bills that get shoved through, laws getting passed too quickly, then there's issues and things that get built in and there's things that actually become more of a problem and they don't really resolve the issue.”

A common theme News 5 investigators have been hearing is that you had no idea when you signed up for a government job that the pension could take social security money away.

So, should government employers be required at the state level to tell employees they're putting their social security in jeopardy?

Fill out the form below with your answer, and any other social security concerns or issues you’re experiencing. We’ll take them to state leaders.

 

Click to see how News 5 is fighting for Northeast Ohioans

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Do you have an issue or story that you want the News 5 Investigates team to look into? Email InvestigatorTips@wews.com or fill out the form below.