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She got a letter from Social Security saying she owes $66,000 and her family can't believe it

Posted at 9:40 AM, Feb 22, 2019

CLEVELAND — The family of a 75-year-old woman is fighting for more information after they say she received a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that she needed to repay nearly $66,000.

Teresa Licate of Stow, Ohio, is a two-time cancer survivor that suffers from a heart condition. She recently received a letter from Social Security, dated Oct. 17, 2018, that said she had been mistakenly overpaid $65,796 and needed to pay that money back.

Teresa's son, David, said she was in considerable distress when she received the letter.

"Almost to tears. What am I going to do?” David Licate said of his mother's reaction.

A trip to the Social Security offices in nearby Akron weren't of much help. David Licate claims an agent told him that she "didn't have any idea what the problem was."

Since October, Social Security has withheld more than $400 a month from Licate's check. But David Licate said his mom's paperwork tells a different story.

"We were able to go back and illustrate that they lost the data that the dollar amount was mistaken,” David Licate said.

Beyond Social Security's mistake, the Licates are frustrated that Social Security couldn't see an issue coming with Licate's account.

“The threshold for a flag to kind of check this out, to make sure this is accurate doesn't have to be $66,000,” said David. “I would say a thousand dollars maybe."

The Social Security Administration that it could not comment on Licate’s case until the appeals process is complete.

"If a bank did this, they would be regulated out of business,” David Licate said. “They wouldn't be able to survive."

The Licates also claim that Social Security promised it would send an emergency payment by Feb. 4, but they have not received anything as of Feb. 22.

At least David Licate is there and able to help his mother.

"I feel sorry for seniors that do not have someone who can do that,” he said. “They're left out on their own."