Woman Receives Surprise Social Security Debt, Congresswoman Steps in to Help

Alex West - Author

Jan. 8 2024, Published 8:57 a.m. ET

In a TikTok video, Kree Flowers (@kreeflowers) described how she ended up with a very jarring Social Security surprise when she did a check-in for her retirement fund. After logging into the government portal, she discovered that she supposedly owed the government $17,000.

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Kree explained that she made it a priority to get in contact with the Social Security office, assuming they had made a mistake or someone stole her Social Security number. She thought that the debt would get taken off her account.

A Social Security card over a pink background
Source: Getty Images
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"Oh, no, honey," the woman working told her. It turns out that she was overpaid in 1995, but Kree pointed out that she was only 10 at the time. The blame was pointed toward her father, instead.

"Looks like your father was drawing Social Security for disability back in the 90s, and we've determined that he wasn't eligible, and therefore, you will pay it back," the employee informed her.

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Kree was shocked to learn the news and reiterated that she had nothing to do with her father's disability. In fact, she was a child and now, as an adult, she couldn't afford to take on the burden of this debt. They instructed her to file some extensive paperwork — 14 pages of documents and financial records.

They asked her to include how much both she and her husband make. Additionally, they requested to know the salaries of her children, even though they had nothing to do with the debt and were now two generations removed from the person responsible.

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The government didn't seem to care that she was a child at the time. In fact, Kree said they completely ignored that detail and only focused on her current financial standing. She also discovered that her sister was in the same position.

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According to Kree, she found plenty of people online who have had a similar experience and took on the burden of debt from their parents. There was one major difference between their story and her's: Kree's parents are still alive while the others were deceased.

Other victims in similar situations instructed her to contact her local Congressperson, so she emailed Lucy McBath of Georgia, outlining the situation.

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"I don't know what's going on. They're coming after me. They're threatening me. Please help me," she pleaded. Lucy wrote back to Kree the very next day, promising to help in any way she could.

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Lucy's team reached out to the Social Security office on her behalf because, as her assistant explained, the situation wasn't "right." The government asked to see Kree in person to somehow prove she couldn't pay, even though she already submitted the paperwork.

The Social Security Administration conceded that they "overlooked" the issue. "They took the debt from me and gave it back to my father, who, by the way, I have no relationship with."

Kree ended her story by urging people to be diligent, check their status, and reach out immediately if something seems wrong. The message fell on grateful ears as one person wrote in her comments: "This is so wild. We’re not supposed to be able to inherit debt. Thanks for posting about this!"

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