Knoxville woman's social security garnishment mystery solved

Knoxville woman's social security garnishment mystery solved

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Delores Padgett had been granted a $6,300 check as a death pension benefit for widows who don't have a lot of money. Delores Padgett had been granted a $6,300 check as a death pension benefit for widows who don't have a lot of money.
"I worked at a bank for 17 years. I should have known better, but I had been so sick," said Delores Padgett. "I worked at a bank for 17 years. I should have known better, but I had been so sick," said Delores Padgett.
Service Officer Tom Humphries says forms can be confusing, but his office can help cut through the clutter. Service Officer Tom Humphries says forms can be confusing, but his office can help cut through the clutter.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville woman's Social Security check is being garnished, and when she first called 6 On Your Side, she didn't know why. Now, it turns out the former "Rosie the Riveter" received an overpayment from the Veterans Administration.

An advocate from the Knox County Office on Aging and representatives from Congressman Jimmy Duncan's office started digging and got some answers for her.

Delores Padgett lives on a tight fixed budget and really worried when her Social Security check was cut by $130 after her July payment.

In late September, Mrs. Padgett received an envelope from the Veterans Administration, but didn't know why it had been sent. She said it asked her to fill out some information as a surviving spouse with no children.

However, Mrs. Padgett is the mother of five and her husband served in World War II. She worked most of her life when not taking care of the kids.

She had even been one of the millions of women who worked in a factory during the war; she had been a welder building ships.        

At the Office on Aging in Knoxville, Susan Bradford is a case manager. She looked into the background of the garnished check and discovered new information.

"Well the garnishment is coming from the VA, from the Veterans Administration with reference from assistance she received as a widow of a veteran," said Bradford.

She says with assistance from Congressman Jimmy Duncan's office, Bradford got a copy of this $6,300 check Padgett had been granted as a death pension benefit for widows who don't have a lot of money.

"There seemed to have been some type of overpayment. We're still tracking that paperwork," said Bradford.

"I worked at a bank for 17 years. I should have known better, but I had been so sick," said Padgett.

The VA check was dated December 2010. In May of that year, Padgett had been sick and needed assistance, so she was admitted to Manor House Assisted Living in West Knoxville.

She applied for the VA benefit to help pay her bill at the assisted living facility.

Receipts from Manor House show she paid out of her own pocket for nearly four months. Remember, that VA check did not arrive until December, and she had left assisted living.

The balance sheet indicates she owed no money when dismissed in mid-September.

Padgett moved to a new apartment where she currently lives.

Under the rules, what she didn't do is notify the VA that she had moved. 

"I just want people to know I'm not a crook and a deadbeat," said Padgett.

Padgett and Susan Bradford visited the local Veterans Service Office last week.

Service Officer Tom Humphries says forms can be confusing, but his office can help cut through the clutter.

"As part of our training, we know what the VA is looking for to be successful, what the veteran or family member needs to present to the VA as far as evidence to support their claim," said Humphries.

Padgett may still owe the government some money. She will soon know how much.

The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs has a service office in about every county throughout our area.

While the VA is protective of private information, most certified service officers can access the VA system to answer any question that a veteran or a family member may have.

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