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Spousal SS - sweet dream turned nightmare
Old 09-10-2021, 06:22 PM   #1
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Spousal SS - sweet dream turned nightmare

Husband (69) and I (62) filed for SS back in June.* Everything went smoothly with my phone call with a very friendly and knowledgeable agent.* She was so nice she even offered to take care of my husband's application which was scheduled an hour after mine.* Check online the next day, both accounts showed "approved".* Great!* We can just sit back and wait for our first check, scheduled to be deposited in our account in September.

Two days ago, my husband received a letter from SS, stating "We are withholding all of your monthly benefits beginning September 2021 to recover past due medical insurance premiums.* You will receive $196.20 for February 2022 around March 16, 2022". *ok, there got to be some mistakes here, I'll just call the SS office and clear things up.* Now, right after we applied for SS, the following medicare bill for my husband was incorrect.* He was only billed for IRMAA Part D, no billing for Part B or Part B IRMAA.* I called them to question the bill, was told not sure why, but do worry, it'll be fixed and we'll bill you the correct amount.* I offered to pay the correct amount, but the agent told me she would not recommend that, because it might really mess things up.* Anyways, I thought, ok, we owe three months of Part B and IRMAA.* I can just pay that and be done.* Don't know why they want to withhold almost $10,000.

I called the SS office, was on hold for 45 mins, talked to an agent for about 10 mins and the call was dropped.* I called back, waited another 50 mins before I got someone on the line.* I was told you must not have paid your bills.* I ask them, can you tell me which months were delinquent and how much I owe?* I was told I don't know, you'll have to call 1-800medicare to find out.* I called Medicare, repeated my story, and was told I show your account is current.* Was told to call SS to tell them that my account is current.* I said wait a minute, I believe Medicare informed SS that I was delinquent with my account, that's why they are withholding my payment.* I can't just call them to tell them I'm not delinquent!* Can I speak to a supervisor?* Supervisor got on the phone, I again repeated my story...she took notes and told me she will have someone from the Advanced Resolution Team to call me back. *

The Advanced Resolution Team called me back the next day, left a message on my phone to call them back at 1800medicare.* He said when I call back, key in my husband's medicare #, my call will be forwarded to the Advance Resolution Team and was told this feature will be valid for the next 30 days.* Called 1800medicare keyed in my husband's medicare #, some guy came on the phone.* Again, I repeated my story, and was told by this guy, you must owe taxes or something.* After about 5 mins, I realized I was not talking to someone from the Advanced Resolution Team.* I asked him if he can transfer me to the Advance Resolution Team.* Took him about 5 mins before he transferred me.* I got someone who I can tell knew what she was doing immediately.* She told me this is the second call she got that day with the same issue.* She asks if I have time to stay on the phone with her while she calls SS to do a three way call.* She called the SS office, we waited about 30 mins before someone got on the phone, she repeated my story, SS agent said can I put you on hold?ok...yep, the call was dropped.* The sweet lady from the medicare Advanced Resolution Team apologized and asked if I had time for her to try again or if I would like for her to call me in the morning to try again.* I said if you don't mind, I would like to give it a try again.* She called the SS office again, waited about 10 mins before someone got on the line, repeated the story again.* The SS agent took about 5 mins to check this and that and then said, I'll have to submit this to another group, they will get back to you within 60 working days. *60 working days!?* That'll put us to November?* She said no, Dec 3rd.* I asked should I still appeal this in writing?* She said yes, you have 60 days to do so.* The lady from medicare asked that I stay on the phone and thank the SS agent.* She told me that because my husband filed spousal benefits, his medicare is now under my ss# and she thinks the billing/payment information might not have synced up.* What?* I know my husband is not the first person to ever file for spousal benefits.* How can this happen? *

I found out 1800medicare is a contracted group, they are not Federal workers.* They don't have much access to anything other than billing.* They can't tell you why you are or aren't billed for something.* The lady from the Advanced Resolution Team was great.* Not so much for all the agents from the SS office.

Can't you imagine putting seniors through this kind of crap?* Luckily, we don't need the money, but can you imagine if we did?*
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Old 09-10-2021, 06:44 PM   #2
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Sorry you are having such a time.

So, since your husband (and you) are just now applying for SS, then your husband must have been paying for his Medicare directly since his age 65 (assuming he did apply for Medicare at age 65?) by check to Medicare. Rather than having Medicare premiums withheld from SS.

So, did you pay the monthly premiums since then? Have cancelled check records of the payments? Or did he miss some Medicare insurance premium payments?

Seems like you should (and should be able) to resolve any late payments now, regardless of SS benefits.

I have found SS to be accurate and "get things right" in their dealings. On the other hand, I have had my own questions about Medicare and the level of competency of their phone reps.

At any rate, no matter who says "that would just mess things up further", I would get whatever late Medicare premiums that may be due, paid as soon as possible to stop the clock on anything in that regard. "They" can figure out your overpayments later.
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:46 PM   #3
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Bigbass, any chance you could go to a physical SS office and try to straighten this out in person?
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:12 PM   #4
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Have you tried contacting your congressional representative for help?
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RetireeRobert View Post
Sorry you are having such a time.

So, since your husband (and you) are just now applying for SS, then your husband must have been paying for his Medicare directly since his age 65 (assuming he did apply for Medicare at age 65?) by check to Medicare. Rather than having Medicare premiums withheld from SS.

So, did you pay the monthly premiums since then? Have cancelled check records of the payments? Or did he miss some Medicare insurance premium payments?

Seems like you should (and should be able) to resolve any late payments now, regardless of SS benefits.

I have found SS to be accurate and "get things right" in their dealings. On the other hand, I have had my own questions about Medicare and the level of competency of their phone reps.

At any rate, no matter who says "that would just mess things up further", I would get whatever late Medicare premiums that may be due, paid as soon as possible to stop the clock on anything in that regard. "They" can figure out your overpayments later.
Yes, he's been on Medicare since he was 65 and 10 months, right after I retired.

I've paid every month since he signed up. I offered two different times to pay the Part B, was told both times by different reps not to. Even if I did, the payment would still show up under his ss#. The issue is once he applied for spousal benefits, his medicare is now under my ss#, I have no way of paying under my ss#.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
Bigbass, any chance you could go to a physical SS office and try to straighten this out in person?
I asked, was told offices are still closed. I even asked if there was a office I can drop off my appeal. She told me I have to mail the form in, which I did, via certified mail today.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:39 PM   #7
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Have you tried contacting your congressional representative for help?
Yes, I did email her today. Hopefully, she'll get back to me after her hair appointment
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbass View Post
Yes, I did email her today. Hopefully, she'll get back to me after her hair appointment
Let us know how THAT works out.

I recall diligently paying my Medicare bill and carefully documenting everything - just in case. Waiting until 70 for SS, I was happy to have an actual sit-down at the office. I asked them to check to be certain my Medicare payments were square - they were.

So sorry you are dealing with this. I agree with your issue in all of this: Some of us are "with it" enough to deal with these foul ups. It's not fun, it's frustrating, it's time consuming, but at least we CAN do it. My mom and dad would NOT have been able to deal with it. They probably would have just taken the hit unless I had found out about it. YMMV
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:10 AM   #9
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Please, keep us informed as things progress.
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Old 09-24-2021, 09:36 AM   #10
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Update-

I mailed in an appeal form SSA-561_U2 to SSA on 9/10/21. On the same day, I also emailed my congresswoman for assistance and received an email from her aid on 9/21/21 requesting a signed Privacy Act Release Authorization form in order for her to initiate the process of ensuring I receive a fair and timely response from SSA. The singed form was sent back to her on the same day. On 9/23/21, I received an email from the aid informing me the issue has been resolved, she copied and pasted a response from the SSA

"The issue has been resolved. The letter he refers to in his appeal states that he is not due monthly benefits beginning September 2021 to recover past due medical insurance premiums...He is due to receive this amount 10/20/2021 which is the third Wednesday of the month. We’ve called and left the constituent a detailed voicemail regarding the outcome of his inquiry."

I also did receive a detailed voicemail from my local SSA on the same day pretty much stating the same thing as the email the aid received.
While I'm glad and happy the issue has been resolved. I wish an explanation was provided though. Asking too much? I wonder how much longer my appeal form would've sat on someone's desk if I hadn't emailed my congresswomen? Based on the timeline, I assumed my email to my congresswomen sped things up. Thank you for letting me vent on this board and yes, I did learn one can and should write to their congressional representative for assistance on this board. Thank you everyone!
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Old 09-24-2021, 09:42 AM   #11
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wow, glad things worked out as they should have.
You must have an amazing congress person! They worked quickly to resolve the situation.
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Old 09-24-2021, 10:09 AM   #12
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Thanks for the update! So glad it worked out. I would not have thought of contacting my congressman/woman.
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Old 09-24-2021, 12:31 PM   #13
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Let's just hope the paper appeal does not cause any problems...


My DW filed for unemployment when the pandemic hit early in 2020... she was getting it until the employer decided to challenge it... we filled out an appear and I also emailed them...


They continued to send us notices to repay some of the unemployment, but we finally got a hearing after 5 or so months... we won...


A few weeks ago I get an email stating that they could not talk to me based on my email I had sent... so, maybe 15 months since I sent it... I ignored it but am hoping it did not open something else up...
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Old 09-24-2021, 05:32 PM   #14
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@bigbass Thanks for posting. I am due to start spousal benefits in April of 2022. Hopefully in person & I will write a note for my files to ask about Medicare accounts
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