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Action News helps former government worker get retirement check

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Action News helps former government worker get retirement check

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Nov 13, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Action News is getting results for a former federal employee who was frustrated waiting on her retirement check.

"Emotionally, it was a roller coaster," said Carolyn Brooks of Las Vegas. "It was a sad roller coaster."

Brooks retired from the Social Security Administration in July after more than two decades of service. She said she submitted her paperwork by September but ran into roadblocks trying to get her retirement benefits.

"I done everything I thought I could do to try and make the situation better but nothing worked," said Brooks.

Brooks is legally blind and her husband has medical issues. She said money was running short and the bills were arriving. Brooks said she called the government nearly a dozen times but couldn't get a clear answer on the status of her claim. Then, she turned to Action News.

"You Ask and We Investigate came into this house and solved our whole problem," said Brooks.

Action News reached out to the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. The agency said it cannot comment on specific accounts because of privacy issues, but it was able to help us put Brooks in touch with a representative to look into her claim. About two weeks later, Brooks received her first retirement check on Tuesday.

"My heart started racing," Brooks said. "I just wanted to jump up and down. I kept saying thank you God. Thank you Jesus."

Brooks said she never found out exactly what the hold up was over her claim.

However, a report from the Office of Personnel Management shows the agency has been dealing with a backlog of retirement claims that goes back to at least 2011.

The latest numbers posted on the agency's website show an inventory of 14,176 claims in October, which is down from 37,086 a year prior. A progress report dated Aug. 5, 2013, shows the agency back filled vacant positions and used some overtime to help tackle the problem. The new goal is to clear the backlog by March, 2014, depending on Congressional funding. 

"Thank you to Channel 13. I really appreciate everything you guys did for us," Brooks said.

Action News also reached out to some members of Nevada's Congressional delegation to see what they're doing about the backlog.

The offices of Sen. Dean Heller, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Dina Titus said people who are having trouble with their claims can also contact them for help.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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Michael Lopardi is the featured reporter of the You Ask. We Investigate. franchise at Action News.