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Congress members try to help 84-year-old woman cut off from her social security over mystery bill

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –  Mamie Walker is on the verge of losing everything because the U.S. government cut off her social security benefits, claiming she owes hundreds of thousands for a mystery education she never received. 

Now, after a Better Call Behnken investigation, U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor is on the case, pushing for the governement to look into this stituation.

“This sounds like there’s some funny business here,” Castor said.

“So we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and certainly Ms. Walker shouldn’t be worried that somebody’s gonna come after her. We’re going to set this straight.”

Mamie is 84-years-old, has never attended college and depends on her monthly social security check of $1,498 to survive.

But for the past two months, the government has sent Mamie nothing, except a letter claiming she owes them $224,414.50.

A letter from the Treasury Department claims she has been referred to them for “collection action.” 

The letter explains up to 15 percent of each of her checks will be withheld to pay the debt. That was shocking enough, but no check came at all in February or March. She received another letter stating she won’t receive another check until Sept. 2031.

“I’ll probably be dead by then,” Walker said.

“I’m so scared. I don’t sleep at night because I’m so scared next week… my lights are going to be off.”

Mamie says she not only never went to college, but she never learned to read or write because she had to go to work as a child to help support her family as a “field hand.”

Her son, Morrison Walker, stepped in to help his mother. He says she hasn’t been able to pay rent or utilities and is at risk for losing her home. 

“I work and I try my best to help her with her bills, but now this done happened and I have my own bills, and she don’t have no income and now they’re trying to put eviction on her house, her water bill skyrocketed, her lights are going to get cut off,” Walker said. 

He says he called social security multiple times and listened to “hold music” for hours only to have no one pick up. He went to a local Social Security office and says he was told it sounds like fraud, but no one offered any help. 

So, he called Better Call Behnken for help getting to the bottom of this mess.

We called the Social Security Administration and were told someone would reach out the family to investigate. We also called the U.S. Department of Education.

Castor tells us her staff will make sure the federal agencies look into this. Walker’s family says they met with Castor’s staff and were told they will apply for emergency funding to help with bills until this is settled. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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