By Trouble-Shooter Judd McIlvain
This Spring I got an urgent call from the Country of Panama, SA. The call was from a former San Bernardino, Ca. couple who were living in Panama.
The couple asked me to refer to them as Jim and Judy Jones for this Column.
The Jones couple, who are in their early 60’s, was strapped with medical bills after Jim, a school teacher, had a massive stroke that left him completely paralyzed. He got on Social Security disability, but there was not enough to cover all the medical bills and other living expenses. Judy was working but that meant they had to have a full-time care giver for her husband.
They were at the end of their rope. They lost the care giver because of money and Judy had to give up her job.
They heard about folks on disability who could not pay their medical bills and had moved to the Country of Panama, SA. In Panama their disability payments would cover their entire medical and a full time care giver. In San Bernardino the cost of a care giver for just eight-hours a day was $2,600 a month. In Panama it was $25 per 12-hour day and only about $750 a month.
They arranged for their Social Security checks to be direct deposited in to their U.S. Bank where they could withdraw the funds. They signed all the required documents.
All was going well for them in Panama but then Social Security stopped their disability checks, and told them both of them had to return to San Bernardino for a meeting at the Social Security office. The couple explained they did not have the cash to fly back for a meeting. Plus, Jim was not well enough to make such a trip. They explained this to the Social Security officials. The Social Security people on the 800-number said "you do not have to return." But one person in the San Bernardino Office said if you do not return we will not send your checks. The checks were stopped. After weeks the Jones ran out of money in Panama.
I let them Speak-Out on my Trouble-Shooter Internet TV and Radio Show and I started trying to come up with a solution.
I called the Social Security Office in San Bernardino and demanded some answers. They would not let me speak to the one person, who had cut off their checks, because the couple could not come in and talk to them in person.
There is NO Rule that they had to come in person if they are too sick to be moved.
The Jones Couple were now living without income in Panama.
I contacted Congressman Joe Baca’s office and told them they had to act quickly to get the disability checks sent to the bank. Congressman Baca’s Staff did demand answers from the Social Security.
Just like I had found out, there was no regulation demanding that the couple come three-thousand miles in person just to sign a form.
The Congressman’s Staff said that Social Security Officials also refused to tell them who the person was, who told the Jones they had to fly back to the office to sign a form, and then stopped their checks.
I talk again with the Jones from Panama on my Trouble-Shooter Internet TV and Radio Show and all of a sudden the checks started coming again. Also the past amount was included.
I just talked to Judy and she says they are doing well, and the medical care is not costly and is very good.
As, for the person in the Social Security Office who demanded them to come to the Office in person, Get your act together, and hope there is no one like you that you have to deal with, when you are on Social Security.