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May 13

Tax Revenue Up Thanks to the Government’s Collections from the Helpless

81-year-old woman starving to pay 30-year-old tax debt

81-year-old woman starving to pay 30-year-old tax debt

Cleo Shannon, an 80-year-old woman, took out a student loan for nursing school in 1983. She no longer has any of the paperwork or any proof of any payments she made towards the loan; she thought her husband (now deceased) had paid off the loan. All of his papers are now gone as well. The Federal Offset Unit of the U.S. Department of Education has been taking $239.10 out of her Social Security check for over a year. Total payments as of 4/15/2014 are $4,228.35. The original debt according to the government was for $2,500. She has paid off the original debt plus over $1,728.35 in penalties/fines/interest. She has been collecting Social Security for over 15 years without any deductions for this loan.

However, that is not the worst of it. Her total debt to the Federal government for the 30-year-old loan is $10,454.64. This equates to more than 400% interest; certainly more than reasonable for an 80-year old woman dying of cancer, but still fiercely independent. She is wasting away from the cancer in her body and has sores all over her body due to her stress.

Her rent is $750 (which is being increased to $850 June 1, 2014) per month. After the Federal government takes out their fines and fees, it leaves $1,485 for her to pay her living expenses. After rent, she is left with $735.

She lives in Norco, California, which is very hot during the summer. The little house she lives in has no insulation, a broken window, since she moved in, and only two window air conditioners to cool her down. At the peak of our summer heat, it does not go below 90 with both air conditioners running, along with a fan. One box is used for her electricity and the house in the back; thus, there is one bill between the two of them. Since she is in the main house, she has been responsible for paying the bills and collecting from the back house. Their combined bill was $537 last September. With no insulation and the broken window, her energy bills have gone through the roof—literally. After you factor in all of her bills, it leaves her with $46.75 per week to eat and clothe herself. Who among us could live on that?

She has already paid off the original amount plus over $1,700 in fines and fees. Do we really need to pay the government’s debts on the backs of those who can barely care for themselves anymore? This debt should have been written off long ago; or, in the least a maximum limit should have been set for the amount of fines/penalties/interest the government charges on old loans.

Recently there was a Washington Post story about a woman in Maryland who had her tax refund taken by the state and the Federal government (Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts):

“Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter…

…Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.”

It would seem that there are other ways the Federal Government and the States are recovering their losses…on the backs of the poor.

Related Stories across the Web:

Federal Tax Revenues Set Record Through April (CNSNews.com)

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