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Former federal employee fights to keep pension and Social Security benefits

6:26 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Joan Northcutt, 82, has been in a fight with Social Security for the past two years and said it is taking a toll.

"I'm skin and bones," she said, "I don't eat, I don't sleep."

Northcutt is a retired federal employee. When her husband of 40 years died, she applied to Social Security for what's called widow's benefits.

"I don't know who to call, where to call," she said.

Since 2011, Northcutt said she has been trying to prove to Social Security she is entitled to the benefits.

"They don't really want to give me anything," she said. 

She said what they want to do is to reduce her retirement benefits, $1,568 a month, by a third. For retired federal government employees, it is required under the 2004 offset rule.

"I don't want the offset and they won't give me anything," she said.

A Social Security hearing office denied her claim. Among the given reasons, they stated, "Northcutt failed to provide evidence showing she is exempted."

"I just want to get what I feel like I deserve," she said.

Northcutt has until September 15 to file an appeal with Social Security.

"Let me have my husband's social security," said Northcutt,"if they want to take mine." 

Elder Source is reaching out to help but for many federal retirees, the new rule has been a problem. National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) has been fighting the issue. 

First Coast News

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