Sunday, July 1, 2012

Getting Kicked Out

It was the issue of survival that prompted a letter to the Social Security office in Seattle, with copies to two of the State of Washington's Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, dated October 24, 2011. Dear (Administrator): On or about November 16, 2010, an employee of the Social Security Administrationallowed an individual to fraudulently redirect my next monthly e-deposit of $674 from my account to another bank. This criminal act was committed less than a week after my purse was stolen. On December 1, I was in the hospital when I learned that no funds were available. A social worker helped me in calling SSA, only to learn that whoever accessed my account also wiped out any record of the bank that was receiving electronic deposits over the past several months. This necessitated a 3-way call among the bank, SSA and myself to acknowledge that the bank had previously been receiving my deposits and it reinstated me. However, 10 ½ months have passed and I never had my December 2010 check reinstated through my present bank, Wells Fargo. During this time, the initial assurance that a new check would be reissued devolved into blaming me for not filing a police report regarding my stolen purse. How could I? The theft literally occurred two minutes before boarding a flight in another city. The last time an SSA employee remonstrated me for not filing a report, I noted that the police did not assist in the theft of my SSA check; therefore, the report was made to its source, the Social Security Administration. Last week, I went to the local SSA office and once again was told that the matter is “under investigation” by the Treasury Department. This is the same Treasury Department that as early as January, 2011 knew the LA bank and account number of the individual who convinced a govern-ment employee to switch the future e-deposits. Is there still any chance of fulfilling my upcoming 60th birthday wish and restoring my present Wells Fargo bank account in the amount of $674. Thank you for your time and consideration to this matter. _______________________ A month after I sent this letter, I encountered such retribution that I left Seattle and moved to San Diego. Once I settled into a Single Room Occupancy hotel, I wrote to Senators Cantwell and Murray again. Dear Senators Cantwell and Murray: On October 24, 2011, I hand-delivered copies of a letter to each of your offices that was addressed to the Social Security Administration. Its contents described a missing SSI check deposit and related matters. I want to thank both of your offices for the effort in having a new check reissued on November 4. Now, for the retribution that followed. Ten days after I received the check, my purse and a flash drive was taken at the same downtown library where I typed the first letter. On December 6, I learned that someone changed my bank account at SSA to one that had been cancelled. That was not the only switcheroo. The date for receiving funds was changed from the 1st to the 2nd of the month without prior notification. A minor change, true, but not when you consider that I promised a landlord to have money to rent a monthly room at a lower rate if I could give him the funds on the day I expected a deposit. I lost out on the room and have had to pay a higher rate when the funds became available on January 2, 2012. Last week, my check reverted back to being deposited on the 1st of the month -- like millions of other SSI recipients. If what I have written so far sounds like there must be more than targeting someone for theft and retaliatory action, there is. More than two decades ago, I worked for a senior law partner who used to fix cases with the help of the Cook County prosecutor’s office. This occurred, despite the fact that one of the partner’s clients was a retired high-ranking agent with the Chicago FBI field office. After I filed charges against the firm, my case was fixed as well. For the next 20 years, I had been squeezed out of employment and housing (I left Seattle following the library incident). When major depression led to my originally filing for benefits in 2003, I thought the abuses would stop. They didn’t. Instead, under the rubric that I suffer from a mental illness, the exploitation intensified. The significance of writing to both of you was to establish that what I experienced when the Social Security Administration “put the squeeze” on me by not reimbursing me until I contacted your offices was very real. At some point in your careers, either one of you may be appointed to an oversight committee reviewing abuses at any federal agency. If so, please consider these “behind-the-scenes” moments that are rarely told due to fear of further retaliation. _______________________

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