Former government worker fed up waiting on retirement check


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Former government worker fed up waiting on retirement check

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Oct 30, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A valley woman spent decades working for the federal government but is now left waiting on her retirement check.

Carolyn Brooks retired from the Social Security Administration in July after roughly 25 years of service. She completed and submitted her paperwork for her annuity check by September. Weeks later, still no check.

"I can't get to a live person to talk to them to get any kind of answers and it's very frustrating," Brooks said. "I feel helpless."

Brooks said her situation is desperate. She is legally blind and her husband has medical complications. Brooks said she's running low on food and has phoned the government nearly a dozen times but is having trouble getting an answer on the status of her benefits. Frustrated, she turned to Action News.

"This is hurting us tremendously," said Brooks. "We don't have a dollar to our names right now."

Turns out, the Office of Personnel Management is dealing with a backlog of retirement claims that goes back to at least 2011.

A report from Aug. 5, 2013, shows the agency hired extra staff and used overtime to tackle the backlog. The latest numbers from September show the office has an inventory of 17,719 claims, down more than half from the same time last year.

The report said the goal is to clear the backlog by March, 2014, but that will also depend on how Congress handles funding for overtime.

In an email, OPM said it cannot comment on specific accounts without a waiver because of privacy concerns. However, the office was able to help Action News put Brooks in touch with a representative who said he working to get an update on her case.

"I feel better just knowing that. I feel better," said Brooks. "I believe they'll give me a call."