Social Security stops 100-year-old Paso Robles woman’s payments

May 11, 2022

Mary Delkener

By KAREN VELIE

A 100-year-old Paso Robles woman had her monthly income ripped away after the Social Security Administration sent her a letter stating she had failed to provide required information, specifically proof that she does not have unreported income.

Raised on the family ranch in Orcutt, Mary Ann Delkener worked as a maid and a nanny, and was often paid cash. As a result, she did not pay enough into the program to receive standard Social Security benefits. Delkener, who never married, sold the ranch, made smart investments and lived comfortably in Paso Robles.

While in her 80s, she received a devastating blow, a trusted investment advisor had taken her life’s savings. Delkener then moved in with her niece and applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which paid her $693 a month.

Last summer, a Social Security representative informed Delkener that they thought the then 99-year-old was receiving unreported income, and that she needed to visit the IRS office in Santa Maria in order to get more information. However, IRS staffers would not provide any information and sent her back to Social Security.

Following the unproductive visit to the IRS office, Social Security staff informed Delkener they suspected she had a retirement account with Wilmington Trust.

On Aug. 12, 2021, the Social Security Administration sent Delkener a letter announcing the cancellation of her monthly payments, according to the letter.

Six days later, Wilmington Trust Vice President Jennifer Matz sent Social Security a letter informing the agency that Wilmington Trust “did not have any accounts and is not aware of any income being paid to Ms. Delkener,” according to the letter.

A month later, Delkener asked Social Security for reconsideration because she does not have an account with Wilmington Trust, but was denied because of COVID-19 restrictions, Delkener’s niece said.

At 100 years old, Delkener has difficulty getting out of the chair she likes to sit in while watching television in the family room and would like to buy a lift chair. But without any income, she is unable to make the purchase.

Social Security benefits are supposed to be a safety net for people of retirement age, or people unable to work because of age or illness, or after the death of a family member. Social Security generally pays U.S. residents between $690 and $3,400 monthly.

CalCoastNews attempted to reach the Social Security office in SLO by phone on two occasions, no one answered the calls after a reporter waited on hold for more than an hour each time.

Clarification: The Social Security office in San Luis Obispo opened to the public late last month.


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Cici

How terrible for this lady. And yet, that’s our wonderful system hard at work. Hard at work taking care of everyone but those born here and have worked hard most of their lives. I was raised to respect others and to respect our elders, something today’s children have no intention of doing. Why would they when our own government turns away from helping veterans who have fought for this Country, the elderly who have worked hard but are barely scraping by and the disabled individuals who have the hardest time getting any help. All those just mentioned have to fight for all money paid into SSDI and Medicare (if eligible), others have to “APPLY” for SS benefits that they were required to pay into only to be denied, and you have to have worked for so long and earned so many work credits just to be eligible to complete the application, others who don’t qualify for SS or SSDI benefits then can apply for SSI and yet again its not enough for people to survive on or they’re denied or like this unfortunate lady stripped of her income for what I’ve read to be stupidity on behalf of SSA. When will this Country start taking care of their own before cutting them off from everything just to take care of the undocumented individuals.

How terribly sad this has become.


Huginfu

Because when given the opportunity to directly name our leaders and their disloyalties… your first thought is to blame your family and neighbors instead of the people with power. Your generation folded to communism, cronyism and foreign influence, but keeps talking down to others about a Country, its People, and its Values which they sold out.


Adam Trask

This is why SS benefits should be GUARANTEED to any American who has paid even a penny into the system and is 65 or over. There is absolutely no reason why a country with a $23 trillion economy should have its elders suffering in poverty—FDR, LBJ and even Richard Nixon tried to make sure it wasn’t the case.


Such a system would also require every American to continue to pay into the fund, even after they reach the threshold of $144,000. Currently, the richest Americans contribute basically nothing into the system, even though they have benefited from the labor of workers who made far less than them.


These kind of stories will continue to pop up as the baby boomers ascend into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.


In other words, there are a boatload of Americans, like Ms. Delkener (not buying the whole, I got bilked thing—she probably just never worked after inheriting a bit of money and never set up a 401K or investment account—guessing her lifestyle was quite frugal) who don’t qualify for any benefits.


Democrats have continually attempted to address this issue, only to be blocked by Republicans who could give a rat’s ass about their fellow Americans and would always vote down benefits to anyone who never worked in a traditional wage earner job.


derasmus

There you go Adam, make it. Bout the evil Republicans. What about all of the opportunities Democrats had have, controlling the Congress and executive yet they gave it lip service, going back several administrations?


Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you, not letting the Republicans off the hook. My point is that neither political party has really faced up to this issue, they just keep kicking the can down the road.


Adam Trask

Democrats have not had a 2/3 majority in the Senate for many years and there is something called the filibuster, which allows the minority to undermine the proposals of the majority. Many Republicans don’t even believe in Social Security or Medicare or any of the other FDR/LBJ programs that helped the old and poor.


derasmus

I wonder if anyone from Salud’s office will pick up on this?


Jorge Estrada

I’d guess yes on this one as his office helped me with the paper work for a replacement copy of my Naturalization document, a needed item for my Real ID Drivers License.


womanwhohasbeenthere

It sounds like someone stole her Social Security number and used it to open an account or credit card or get a job. I would encourage her to contact her Congressman or US Senator who could get through the bureaucracy. I am so sorry for her!


kayaknut

Stole her SS# and set up a retirement account?, I hope if mine is ever stolen they do the same thing. More likely another broken goverment bureaucracy that’s needs a top to bottom cleaning.


fish

this is a story for the nightly news. I hope someone who has a lift chair will donate to this lovely person


tj

This is the government that wants to manage our healthcare.


debeddarn

Government can’t take voters over 125 years old off of the voter rolls. But it’s OK to stop their SS checks if they are over 100 years old—HUMM!!!


unusualsuspect

Instead of a greater respect and care of our elders, as well as added sanitation in a effort to prevent their illness; the pandemic has only provided cause to deny an old woman her due pay. Awesome; just, awesome…


Rambunctious

Charles Ponzi would be so proud…