Woman Waits Nearly One Year for Survivor Benefit

Lorraine Jurgensen of Batavia wrote “grief is hard enough” on a person who loses a spouse. But her recent experience in trying to obtain a Social Security survivor’s benefit, she added, has been “totally frustrating and uncalled for.”

Jurgensen, 85, lost her husband, Gary, to cancer last April. The Social Security Administration notified her that she was entitled to a one-time payment of $255 because of the death of her husband.

What followed is a mystery no one expected: a near year-long wait for the payment to be processed.

“Why is this so complicated when so many people don’t have any problem collecting that bit of money?” Jurgensen said.

Family friend Gale Weber has made numerous phone calls to Social Security on behalf of Jurgensen. The two have visited the Social Security office in Aurora on two separate occasions. And last December, Weber helped Jurgensen compose a letter to Social Security officials asking for answers.

“The check was sent to her checking account in April, supposedly, and returned and they did nothing to try to get it back to her,” Weber said.

NBC 5 Responds contacted the Social Security Administration to find out what was holding up Jurgensen’s payment.

A spokesperson said the payment delay was an exception that required a manual action.

“This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience it caused Mrs. Jurgensen,” wrote public affairs specialist Andrew Salata.

Jurgensen has since received a direct deposit in the amount of $255.

The Social Security Administration said people in similar situations should call 1-800-772-1213 or visit a local field office which can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov.

According to the Social Security Administration, $21 million was paid out in lump sum death payments last year.

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