Off the Record

Greta: Your government rips off a woman's tax refund

'Off the Record', 4/11/14: An unsuspecting woman has to pay for a mistake the government made years ago ... there's a lot wrong with this picture


By Greta Van Susteren

Let's go "Off the Record" for just a minute. Your government is ripping off an unsuspecting woman's tax refund.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. government confiscated - I say stole - a Maryland woman's tax refund. The Washington Post reports that in 1960, when the woman was 4 years old, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise, and the family then began to receive Social Security. Fast forward to now, 2014, and the Social Security Administration now figures out, so they say, that in the year 1977, which is 37 years ago, it mistakenly overpaid someone in this woman's family. They don't know who, but the amount was $2,996. Their mistake, not the woman's.

So, in our government's enormous great wisdom, 37 years later, it suddenly decides they are gonna go get that money. They track down a family member - and steals my opinion, my word - the family member's tax refund to cover the allege 37-year-old debt, which is their mistake.

And to top it off, the woman says Social Security told her it had no record explaining the debt. They were just taking her refund. So nuts! Now, we called the Social Security Administration for comment. They responded in part, we have a legal obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people receive when it was not due.

It isn't that I am in favor of overpayments. I am certainly not. It is the absurdity of the government chasing a 37-year-old debt. Yet, it seemed to be so ho-hum about the discovery just last week that the State Department can't find $6 billion - that's with a "B," $6 billion. Our government is so out of control. And that's my "Off the Record" comment tonight.