Local man told children must repay Social Security benefits

By Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - More and more people are panicking, wondering how they'll repay Social Security benefits the government says they owe.

Charles Carter says he's been told he owes the government more than $51,000.   Apparently Social Security should have stopped sending him checks back in 2004, but kept sending the money every month.

A Kentucky retiree is also outraged because he found out the government mistakenly overpaid his social security benefits for years.  He had to give back $10,000, and now is being told he may owe thousands more.

Now, we've learned about another recent situation.

Stan Gunter of Fruitland says his three children received disability benefits after Stan was injured several years ago.

Social Security now says Stan's kids got way too much, and wants them to pay up.

In 1998 Stan Gunter says an injury on the job changed his life.

"Was paralyzed from the waist down. Went through two years of rehab and surgery," said Gunter.

For years he says he tried to get disability benefits.

"God knows they don't just give it away. It took me six years to get approval," said Gunter.

During that time he says he lost his home, his truck and basically his entire life.

"I had to start from ground zero and work my way back up," said Gunter.

Fast forward to today, Stan is working but only three days a week.

He continues to receive disability benefits, and until recently so did his three biological children.

"Got a letter (the first week in June) saying they were supposed to be drawing a certain amount and were drawing three times more," said Gunter.

Each child he says received a notice from the Social Security Administration saying his daughter Courtney and son Corey both owe more than $15,000.

His 18 year old daughter Autumn owes more than $18,000.  All are apparent overpayments.

"Autumn lives on her own. There's no way that child can pay it back. I can't pay it back," said Gunter.

According to the regional Social Security office out of Kansas City, even though we've recently heard about cases like this, the government has not done any audits or anything that would spark the notices.

We're told it would be very rare for someone to not get any warning.

Gunter however, says he wasn't warned.

He went to the Social Security office in Cape Girardeau to try and get some answers.

He says workers are reviewing his case.

He has the right to appeal, and his children could be eligible for waivers if the government feels the kids weren't at fault.

"You take $15,000 from me that I don't have and I'm gonna wave bye to everything I've got," said Gunter.

If you receive social benefits, you're probably wondering "am I getting the right amount?"

According to John Garlinger with the Social Security Administration out of Kansas City, there's really no way for you to check to see if the money you're getting is legit.

He says local offices are too busy to handle those kinds of questions.

Garlinger says if you get a letter saying you're being overpaid, you better inquire because the government won't just let this go.

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