'He’s still getting Social Security - and I’m having to pay it back!'

'He’s still getting Social Security - and I’m having to pay it back!'
Courtney Poniewaz

ELMIRA, Ore. – In April, the Social Security Administration announced it would halt the collection of debts older than 10 years.

SSA’s collection of old debt affected hundreds of thousands of Americans, and in many cases affected people who had never heard of any debt.

Most of the debts were passed down from relatives and older than 10 years.

After learning about this recently, 24-year old Elmira resident Courtney Poniewaz called KVAL News in hopes of figuring out why the SSA is still taking money from her.

In 1998, her father Wade filed for disability.

A week before her 18th birthday in 2008, Courtney received a letter from the Social Security Administration.

It stated that she owed $4,491 after they overpaid her father $60,000.

“They won’t give a straight answer as to why I’m paying this back.,” Courtney said. “All they keep saying is I’m not liable for it, but I have to pay it back anyways.”

Her father still owes the majority of the overpayment mistake, but the SSA said Courtney and her three other siblings are still responsible even though they did not receive the money.

“Why am I paying it back? They had told me I’m not liable for it! So, why am I still having to pay it back? Is there any option I can get my money back from all of this?”

Courtney has dealt with a number of SSA offices, including the one in Eugene.

She said she’s getting the run around.

“They want me to have more proof all the time,” she says. “More proof, more proof, more proof! I send them all the paperwork, and they just go that’s not enough!”

This is Courtney’s 7th year dealing with this. She says she’s had enough.

She said the SSA has taken her tax returns to pay for her debt she supposedly owes.

So far: $2,800.

Courtney is not sure why they are going after her and her siblings.

“They were sending me this! I tell them, he’s still alive! He’s still getting Social Security! And I’m having to pay it back!”

KVAL News contacted the Social Security Administration in Seattle. They did not return any of our phone calls, but they did say they would look in to the matter.

For Courtney, it’s not enough.

“I want this fixed. I want it fixed soon. And, I need my money.”