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Elder Woman Owes North Carolina Thousands for the State’s Mistake

When it comes to receiving disability checks, most people expect to be paid monthly by the government to help financially support them. Nobody expects to have to pay the government for their own disability. Especially if it is for a mistake the state messed up on and it is now your responsibility to pay them back $19,000 to fix their record books for them. If this sounds like a really specific example with some obvious real-world tie-in then your right.

For 74-year-old Carla Shuford, a phone call from the state treasurer’s office changed her life for the next ten years. Apparently the state of North Carolina had been overpaying Carla since 2016 for her monthly Disability Income Plan. There was some math that wasn’t accounted for and the state never deducted her cost-of-living bonuses from Social Security from her disability checks. So what was the state’s answer to this computer error so obviously on their fault? Well, they started to cut Carla’s disability checks by more than half for the next five years to cover their tail. Without budgeting for this Carla will surely be financially hurting for the next half-decade, which is ridiculous. She is not alone either; there are 60 other people who have to face financial hardships because the state treasury department didn’t properly compute their benefits. The craziest thing is that those 60 other people including Carla were all former employees of the North Carolina state department! It really shows some kind of incompetence when a treasury department doesn’t even know how to pay its own employees. In a bittersweet end to the story, Carla was able to change the repayment play so that she has ten years to pay back her surprise debt. This still means that for the next decade she will be receiving only three-fourths of the disability checks she had planned her budgets around.

 It is absurd to saddle an elderly woman with financial struggles for a mistake that she isn’t even involved in. Since Carla’s injury was a leg she had to have amputated when she was 15, the attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC, say that she would most likely be entitled to full disability compensation. That means that she could have lived in relative comfort with monthly payments and still she wanted to work for the state. And the state repays her by making her pay for their mistake. The main problem here is how the treasury department can let such a financial mistake continue and build up for so long.  

Carla says that she is happy that the treasurer’s office is working with the people who have been affected but also feels sad for those involved. Apparently, overpayments are one of the main problems in treasurer’s office as it was flagged in a state audit report. Hopefully, they do more to fix this in the future before more good people like Carla have to suffer.

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