PIX11 steps in to reclaim woman’s social security checks after she becomes victim of identity theft

Posted: 2:33 AM, Jan 26, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-26 02:38:11-05

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Barry Nevins' 87-year-old mother Eleanor, who has dementia, lives in the Atrium Assisted Living Facility in Jersey City, where her  $1,300 monthly social security check helps pay the cost of her care.

But a little over a year ago, Barry realized three of her checks totaling over $4,000 had never been deposited. So he called the Social Security Administration and found out terrible news.

"My mother's payments had been transferred electronically to a bank called," Nevins said. "I never authorized this and my mother certainly couldn't have authorized this."

Nevins says someone hacked into his mother's social security number.

In December 2015, he filed a claim with the Social Security Administration to get his mother's money back.

"Social Security first told me in the first call that's its gonna take four months for the claim to be processed," he said.

But when he called backed in four months, he was told it was still processing.

"The person I spoke to told me it was processing and the check should be out in two weeks," Nevins said. "Never got a check of course. I called every month or every other month and I kept getting the same replies that it was in processing or it was with the benefit authorizer."

Then two weeks ago after more than a year of trying to unsuccessfully resolve his mother's case, Barry called Social Security again and this time he was told they didn't even see her claim in the system.

"They just dropped it," Nevins said. "It feel through the cracks. So I couldn't think of any other way to get the money that I needed and I thought of Arnold Diaz and I said well maybe I could call Arnold Diaz and he'll help me."

PIX11's Arnold Diaz phoned in a contact at the Social Security Administration and what had taken in a year, was resolved in a day.

After Social Security's Regional Communications director John Shallman intervened, $4,134 was deposited into Eleanor Nevin's account and the Nevins family got an apology.

"I would like to apologize to the Nevins family for any inconvenience this may have caused them," Shallman said in a statement.

"He was a great help and you [Arnold Diaz] were a great help," Nevins said.

If you’ve got a story for Arnold Diaz —email him at what a shame, or contact him on Facebook or Twitter, use the #PIX11Shame.