sometimes uneventful and other times unbelievable!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Today I had a woman to come to my office that really upset me. No she was not ugly or mean to me, but her story was disturbing!  In fact I have not quit thinking about her since this afternoon.  Her story made me so mad that I encouraged her to write her congressmen and the major television networks.
I'll change her name to respect her privacy.  We'll call her Ms. Smith.
Ms.Smith had worked for the state of Georgia for 14 years as a counselor/case worker dealing with people on welfare/disability and disabilities dealing with drug addictions.  I personally didn't know there was such a thing. After working for them for 14 years, her office was closed down and she was out of a job.  There was no relocating.  She then found herself at the age of 56, out of work, can't find any work, and a mere $290 in unemployment coming in weekly.  She had a mortgage and Cobra insurance to pay for which was about $450 a month.  She did keep that and good thing.  She ended up getting very sick and having to be hospitalized.  But in the meantime...that $290 a week was not making her mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, or her Cobra insurance.  She said, "thank God I didn't have a car payment".  So because she didn't have enough funds to cover everything, she had to withdraw from her IRA from the state that she had moved to another financial institution after leaving her job.  Since she was 56 years old...and before the age of 59 1/2, she would pay a stiff penalty by the IRS for withdrawing those funds.  She certainly didn't want to withdraw it but what choice did she have after being unemployed after a year.  She had quickly gone through her savings as well.
At the end of July she got very sick and had to be hospitalized.  She was so grateful that she had taken the Cobra insurance even if it was expensive.  While in the hospital, she started receiving letters from the IRS stating she shouldn't have withdrawn those funds from her IRA and that she owed the IRS a huge penalty for taking that money.
She told them she had been out of work for a year and that she had to have money to live on. The amount of unemployment she was getting weekly was not covering those expenses. Ms. Smith stated to me that the IRS rep on the phone when she called them to make some arrangements talked to her like a piece of trash...like she was nothing. She tried to explain to him what had happened and he could care less. It wasn't like she had owed taxes from previous years...she had always paid her taxes and on time. This IRS didn't care...didn't care that she had been sick...didn't care that she lost her job due to the office closing...didn't care that she might lose her house...he didn't care!!! He made her feel about an inch tall and like she was a piece of trash! She got so upset that she told him thank you and hung up on him.
After the phone call and still while in the hospital, the IRS put a tax lien on her checking account and withdrew about $2300.00 putting her acct in the negative somewhat.
So here we have a woman....who is educated, a hard worker, worked for the same employer for 14 years, has always paid her taxes and on time, put two daughters through college on a single parent income....now out of work, sick, trying to hang on to her insurance, her house, and survive...being bullied by our government!!!!!!  
I was so mad after her telling me this story that I wanted to call the IRS up and say "how dare you talk to her the way you did and how dare you take all of her money while she is sick and in the hospital and unemployed!!"
What was so remarkable was her attitude and her will to survive.  She reduced her living expenses getting rid of her cable, Internet, home telephone, watching her utilities like a hawk and any unnecessary spending.  Thanks to good friends she was able to find another job recently and is working to get back on her feet.  She paid the negative balance today and reopened her checking account.  
After talking to her at great length, she talked about the young people she use to counsel as a caseworker when working for the state.  She said about 90% of the people she saw had no intention of finding a job...they just wanted their check, sit at home and watch tv, get their nails done (how she didn't know but they were done).  She said the welfare system needed to be done away with and be there only for the senior citizens.  She said these younger people would come and say they were entitled to their benefits and she would say, "but honey, you didn't pay into the system...you are not entitled to anything.".  (GOOD FOR HER). She also said that these younger ones...needed to learn to work for a change and find a way to support yourself or your family.  I agree!!! As she said...everyone is responsible for themselves...and we all will help the elderly.
Ms. Smith also stated that she felt our country needed to go to a "fair tax" system where EVERYBODY pays.
car insurance..but with no pre-existing conditions..(I agree)...she doesn't want to pay for everyone else...especially those living off the system but can work. Immigration:  either go through the legal process or GET OUT!!  
I encouraged her to write the networks and her congressmen about what had happened to her.  I walked out of my office to make a copy of a document and when I walked back into my office she thanked me for "listening to her and giving her the encouragement to write those letters".  I told her people needed to hear her story.
All of this made me think about Charlie Rangel who owes out of the wazoo in taxes and the government isn't taking his money out of his account now are they?
How fair is that? He's such a crook...,  
And if you thought this woman was a white 56 year old...you are so wrong.  She is a educated, hard working 56 year old BLACK woman who knows exactly what BIG GOVERNMENT WILL DO TO YOU!! As she put it so well...."the problem with America is... AMERICA ITSELF!!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story. You made some excellent points. This is another example of our nation's enabling the lazy, while penalizing the hard-working class. What's fair about that? Who says we have equal rights? Hearing this story, it seems the laziest among us have much greater rights to financial support than someone who has worked hard for years. Really, how much longer can we sustain such a policy? I fear we've already gone so far in debt that we have done long-term damage to the American way of life. It time for strong leadership that isn't afraid to face the reality that the gravy train has to stop!