Man Chased to Pay $122 to Social Security, From 48 Years Ago

A Missouri man was taken aback after he received a letter from the Social Security Administration, seemingly out of the blue, claiming he owed $122 from nearly half a century ago.

Rick Wosmanski, from St. Louis, received the letter saying that he received extra funds when he was student, aged only 19, in 1973, when President Richard Nixon was in power.

"You were overpaid when you received benefits as a student," the letter Rick Wosmanski got said, KCTV reported on Friday. "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."

Wosmanski's father passed away when he was 17 and he was entitled to his father's social security benefits. But when he was no longer a full-time student, the Social Security Administration says he was no longer eligible to get the money.

As it was so long ago, he doesn't remember getting paid the extra money and suspected his mom may have cashed the checks instead. "The rest is a mystery. Went to the grave with my mom," said Wosmanski.

"I said 'is there some kind of statute of limitations on this' and she said 'no, you owe us the money.' Just like that," said Wosmanski, who as insisted a more detailed explanation and proof of any errors made. He filed an appeal.

"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 joked.

"All the money our government gets and yet they are willing to come after the little guy for 122.80," said Wosmanski.

After the broadcaster contacted the Social Security Administration, a spokesperson declined to 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" and that an official would be directly in touch with him.

There are no legal limitations on the timeframe in which the Social Security Administration can collect debt.

Wosmanski told KCTV he believed the letter was prompted by the fact he started collecting his own social security in 2020.

Newsweek has contacted Wosmanski to see if his outstanding payment issue has since been resolved.

The Social Security Administration has been recalibrating to respond to all its clients that have been unable to pay them back through the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been people who have used the pandemic to accept social security payments and COVID-19 stimulus checks illegally. One woman in Ohio on June 16 was sentenced to six months in prison for accepting Social Security payments and coronavirus stimulus money on behalf of her deceased brother.

A sign is seen outside a U.S. Social Security Administration building, November 5, 2020, in Burbank, California. Rick Wosmanski, from St. Louis, received a letter from the Social Security Administration saying he owed them $122 from 48 years before. Valerie Macon/Getty