Stimulus Checks: Knox Co. woman’s name change mix-up resolved

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It took a pandemic for a Knox County woman to have the Social Security Administration update her name on their files.

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, or court order, the government says you must get a corrected social security card. Joyce Cooper recently has been trying to resolve an issue with her own name change so that she could finally get her stimulus checks.

Mrs. Cooper said she never before experienced any trouble in receiving her disability income check as she is legally blind in one eye. But when she didn’t receive last year’s stimulus checks, she called WATE 6 On Your Side and we made inquiries.

Now, the confusion over her name change has finally been resolved.

For Joyce and Connie Cooper, their life is a little less stressful now. Both are 84 years old and after losing their spouses were married six years ago. Neither are required to file a tax return due to their limited fixed income from social security.  

When the coronavirus stimulus checks were handed out last year, Joyce Cooper said she didn’t get one. She never received either of her first two stimulus checks and she was worried about that. Come to find out, there had been a mix-up with her name.

In 2016, Joyce legally changed her name from Nauman, the name of her late first husband, to Cooper.

Since her mother has no computer Joyce’s daughter, Denise Nauman, went to the Internal Revenue Service’s website to help her mother secure her stimulus checks. But, why had they been held up in the first place?

Earlier this month, we contacted Social Security on Joyce’s behalf after we discovered a discrepancy with her name.

The Social Security office in Oak Ridge got in touch with Joyce after our inquiry. They needed personal identification to verify her identity.  Denise accompanied her mother.

“I just took the papers that she already had, her birth certificate, her old social security card, her driver’s license, all of her credentials,” Denise Nauman, Joyce’s daughter, said.

Denise was given the reason for the holdup. According to the social security representative, it had to do with Joyce’s original card: “He says, ‘I think the problem is when she came in in 2016, I think they just replaced her card.  I don’t think they changed her name from Nauman to Cooper.'”

After visiting the social security office, Joyce is pleased with the results.

“Well, he renewed all of my papers and he changed my name and made me a new social security card. My name changed from Joyce A Nauman to Joyce A Cooper,” Joyce Cooper said. “Oh my daughter is terrific, she is really good on the computer. She is our lifeline and is always there to take care of us.”

In order to secure her mother’s first two stimulus checks, Joyce’s daughter has filed what’s called the “Recovery Rebate Credit” with the IRS. That’s what you do if your stimulus has not arrived. Now, if all goes well, Mrs. Cooper will see that money in her account soon.

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