Social Security refuses to refund Bay Area man $15,000 accidental overpayment

DANVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a common mistake, but one that proved costly for a Danville man. You might say, this is a case in point -- a decimal point.

Russ Bernard looks to be in pretty good shape. It's a good thing because he had to do some pretty heavy lifting after making a careless mistake.

He sent in an online payment to Social Security for his Medicare B coverage for what he thought was for $1,695.60.

When he received verification of his payment, he discovered he put the decimal point in the wrong place.

The payment ended up being for $16,956.

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"So I about freaked out. And obviously the numbers were right, but the decimal was put in the wrong place," he told us.

Russ called Wells Fargo, requesting a stop payment. The bank told him it couldn't do that.

"It was an electronic transfer, and not a check. That I'd have to contact Social Security. So that's when all my woes began," Bernard said.

Social Security told him it could only give him a credit and not a refund for the overpayment. That was the policy.

"It just kept going on and on and on. And he just couldn't get anything or anybody to stop it," his wife Carla said.

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Bernard appealed to a manager. He learned on Christmas Eve that Social Security denied his appeal.

That same day, his wife Carla came down with COVID-19.

"All of a sudden the room went sideways, and I was sick," she recalls.

Still, Carla had enough strength to suggest Russ call 7 On Your Side.

"I said if anybody can get this fixed, it's 7 On Your Side, call them," she said.

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He did, and we contacted Social Security.

A spokesperson told us it couldn't comment due to privacy reason.

But it refunded $15,000 back into Bernard's bank account.

"7 On Your Side can't be beat," said Bernard.

"I'm grateful. 7 On Your Side did a wonderful thing for us," Carla proclaimed.

7 On Your Side is also happy to report Carla is completely recovered from COVID-19.

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

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
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