Red tape: Allendale woman overpays Social Security, waits 8 months for refund

Posted at 11:13 PM, Apr 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-29 10:23:38-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Stephanie Vlasich called Grand Rapids home for many years.

Her daughter, Joan Bailey said, “She was born and raised in Italy, and her and my dad emigrated to the United States in 1949."

Vlasich arrived on Ellis Island and lived a long life. She passed away in July 2014 at the age of 95. Like many seniors, Vlasich received a Social Security check once a month - $948.

Bailey, who lives in Allendale, took care of her mother and had power of attorney when she died.

“So the funeral home contacted Social Security via electronically, as they do every time an elderly person passes away, to let them know so they would stop sending Social Security payments. Well, lo and behold, one came in," she said.

Another check was direct deposited into her mother’s account, Bailey said.

“So I contacted Social Security, tried to be proactive and say, ‘You know what, I don’t think we should be getting this check,'" Bailey recalled.

"Well, I was advised by the local Social Security office in Grand Rapids, Michigan to send them a check locally," she explained.

Bailey said she sent the money back last August.

“I then received a letter in November stating that they owed me that money, and I shouldn’t have paid it back. So I tried contacting the local office several times, unsuccessfully,” she said

Watch the video to see what happens.

The deputy regional communications director for the Social Security Administration, Doug Nguyen, provided the following statement.

"Individuals should notify Social Security as soon as possible when someone getting benefits dies. Some of the deceased’s family members may be able to receive Social Security benefits if the deceased person worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits. Individuals should get in touch with Social Security as soon as they can to make sure the family receives all of the benefits to which it may be entitled. For more information, please refer to our publication at or call SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213."