ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A bizarre letter from the Social Security Administration had one local man scratching his head. They claimed he owed them money from nearly 50 years ago.
"You were overpaid when you received benefits as a student," the letter Rick Wosmanski got said. "I owed a total of 122.80 and I thought this is unusual .. It was 48 years ago. Give me a break," Wosmanski said. "I have a hard time remembering 48 hours ago."
Rewind to 1973, back when bell-bottoms were in and President Nixon was nearly out. Wosmanski back then was a self-described dork.
"I was 19 years old!" Wosmanski said. He was 17 when his dad passed away and Wosmanski was entitled to his father's social security survivor's benefits. When he was no longer a full-time student, the Social Security Administration says he wasn't eligible anymore to get the money.
Trouble is, he doesn't ever remember getting paid and thinks his mom might have cashed the checks instead. "The rest is a mystery. Went to the grave with my mom," Wosmanski said.
And now out of the blue, this letter. Even a phone call to the Social Security Administration and still they insisted he owed them money for a check he shouldn't have received.
"I said 'is there some kind of statute of limitations on this' and she said 'no, you owe us the money.' Just like that," Wosmanski said.
He said it's not just the money. He wanted proof of the errors.
"If they insist on $122.80, I will do my patriotic duty and return 122 dollars and 80 cents. I'd like to do it in pennies," Wosmanski laughed.
He tried fighting it on his own and even filed an appeal. In the meantime, wondering if others were in the same boat, he turned to News 4.
"All the money our government gets and yet they are willing to come after the little guy for 122.80," Wosmanski said.
One quick email from News 4 to the government and sure enough, a change of heart. A spokesperson told us they couldn't comment on Wosmanski's situation specifically, but said "based on the information on our records, it appears we will be able to resolve this issue," saying someone would be reaching out to Wosmanski directly.
The Social Security Administration said they do collect overpayments and said there is no statute of limitations to collect the debts.
Wosmanski thinks the letter was triggered because he just started collecting his own Social Security last year.