Sins Of Your Fathers And Mothers

Sins Of Your Fathers And Mothers

By Jeff Wagner. CREATED Apr 11, 2014

 If you tax refund doesn't show up this year, you might want to blame your parents - even if they've been dead for decades!

So far this year, the Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds - $75 million of which is on debts that are more than 10 years old.  Some of the money is being collected from the children of the debtors.

Take the case of 58-year-old Mary Grice.

In 1960, when Grice was 4, her father died leaving her mother to raise five young children.  Her mother received survivor benefits from Social Security until the the youngest child turned 18.  Social Security claims that in 1977, it overpaid someone in the Grice family.  It isn't sure who.

This year, Grice got a letter saying that they were holding her rsponsible for the $2996 debt incurred under her father's Social Security number - and seizing her tax refund to pay for it.  The government says that its policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

I guess my younger brother can rest easy.

Typically children are not responsible for debts incurred by their parents - but Social Security says that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children's money can be taken!  Even if they were minors and the improper payments were made decades ago!

Most people would agree that the government should try to collect monies improperly paid to Social Security recipients.  Still, is it fair to go after someone for debts incurred decades ago by other members of theri family.

We'll discuss this issue during the 1 p.m. hour of Friday's radio show.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section - and be sure to check back latr to hear a replay of the segment. 

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner

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Jeff Wagner recently completed his 15th year as a talk show host at 620 WTMJ. Jeff's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., features stories which you might not have heard about elsewhere and emphasizes Jeff's common sense approach to issues.