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9 Investigates team settles SSA overpayment notices for people across the country

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dozens of people who received overpayment notices told Channel 9 about some of their darkest days.

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For months, even years, they have been dealing with the loss of sleep, the loss of income, and, for some, the loss of their homes.

“They’ve got to make these individuals whole and figure it out on the back end,” Angela Worley said. “A lot of these are seniors, you know, they had more days behind them than they do ahead of them.”

But for some, there is now light. For Addie Arnold, that meant getting her benefits restored.

Read: Cox Media Group, KFF Health News win Goldsmith Awards’ Inaugural Prize for Government Reporting

The retired woman and her disabled niece, Justina, are now in better financial shape than before.

“Before, I felt like I didn’t have a voice or that no one was listening to what I was saying,” Arnold said. “Even with the letters that I sent to Social Security, it seemed like I didn’t have a chance. But then, after the story aired, like I said, in September, we received a partial check. In October, we got a full one.”

And Julia, who saw her only income slip away.

“Every month, they send another letter. Did you forget? You still owe us $6,000.”

Read: Social Security Commissioner planning reforms to fix overpayments, poor customer service

Now, the SSA has partially restored Julia’s social security benefits.

For months, 9 Investigates, our teams nationwide, and KFF Health News have told you about the Social Security Administration’s attempts to collect billions in overpayments.

The money is being taken from folks desperately needing it, and the government often makes the overpayment mistake.

The same is true for Denise Woods. After we aired our interview with her back in December, while she was living in her car, she was also getting the money she deserved.

Read: Couple facing foreclosure after benefit decision delay by Social Security Administration

Others have told us they are at least now in touch with someone at the SSA after months of getting the runaround or no answer at all. They tell us they now have someone at the agency working through their issues.

Some also sent Channel 9 letters stating that their payments were restored after we contacted the SSA on their behalf.

Like Kristine Pamatian, whose dad fell victim to a scam, they had to update his direct deposit. The update never took place, and they suspended his account, stopping his payments last October.

Read: Social Security reviewing overpayment policies, procedures following WFTV Channel 9 investigation

We contacted SSA on her behalf and immediately received this message from Kristine.

“I don’t know what you all did, but thank you!” she said. “He got his money from Social Security today. we really appreciate your help!”

Another woman told Channel 9, “I wanted to let you know I received the refund this week!! Thank you so much. It was a very frustrating nine months, and I am 100% sure this would not have been resolved without your help.”

Channel 9 helped her when her social security took two $10,000 in overpayments out of her mother’s account, and she tried to get that settled for eight months.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

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