University of California worker's retirement checks delayed for months

EL CERRITO, Calif. (KGO) -- Retirement is supposed to be the ultimate stress reducer, but it didn't quite work out that way for a University of California employee. 7 On Your Side stepped in to help.

Brenda Williams of El Cerrito says her blood pressure increased each time her monthly retirement check failed to arrive in the mail. She said what made matters worse was that no one could tell her when her benefits would begin.

Williams proudly showed 7 On Your Side the two awards she received for exemplary work from the University of California. Each award came with a $500 bonus. She also showed us photos from the retirement party given to her by her co-workers.

For 17 years, she worked at the space science division at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Unfortunately, her retirement hasn't gone as planned.

"I haven't really enjoyed my retirement because I was expecting to get paid in March," Williams said.

The last paycheck she says she received came January 31, just a couple of days before her retirement began. When 7 On Your Side talked with her last week, she had gone four months without a pension check. The delay has caused her to get behind in her bills.

"What they did to me was unthinkable," she said.

Williams's husband recently had knee replacement surgery and the couple has been forced to live off social security and worker's comp.

When she asked the University of California when her benefits might begin, she said no one could give her an answer. "I got to the point where I was going to go back up there and just sit there and let them arrest me until they can tell me when they can pay me," Williams said.

Williams decided it was time to reach out to 7 On Your Side. We contacted the University of California.

Williams soon received a phone call and this text message from the director of the retirement office: "As promised we will send your retroactive payment on Tuesday for delivery to you Wednesday."

"You called on Wednesday, I got a phone call on Wednesday. You called on Friday. I got the results on Friday," she said of her 7 On Your Side experience.

The University of California declined to comment specifically on Brenda's case but told us "an individual may experience a delay due to a variety of circumstances, as retirement election is a multi-step process which involves proper documentation, completions and signature of paperwork. We sincerely apologize when a delay is experienced."

Brenda Williams is happy to be able to enjoy her new retirement.

"7 On Your Side, I thank you so much because if it wasn't for you, I would still be in limbo," she said.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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