Where's my stimulus check?

Seven On Your Side
May 6, 2009 3:30:55 PM PDT
It seemed like was a simple mistake, reversing two social security numbers. But a year after it was uncovered, the digit debacle wound up costing the Long Island woman hundreds. Joanna Oates can't stop gushing about her 3 sons. Her ex-husband who owes her child support? Not so much.

"I wasn't getting regular payments," said the weary parent to 7 On YOur Side's Tappy Phillips.

So Joanna went to family court and got an order to have the support taken right out of her ex's paycheck. But a simple mistake in the court papers caused a world of difficulty.

"They put the wrong social security numbers." As a result Joanna says her ex's child support arrears was charged against her. So, last year her tax refund was seized. Good luck getting it straightened out.

"It was very frustrating."

Then she was notified she was getting a government stimulus payment for $290.

"I said, 'Oh, wow, that's great, we are going to get a stimulus payment.' Then 3 days later I had an interception letter from the IRS that child support agency had taken the money."

That's right, that check had also been taken to cover a debt her husband owed. Finally, in October of last year she was told the matter had been investigated and corrected. She got her tax refund, but the stimulus check never arrived.

"I just kept calling and calling and calling."

So Joanna's next call? Seven on Your Side, of course.

Finally, there it was. A year late, New York's child support enforcement finally sent her stimulus check.

"I'm very happy, I'm very very happy, it was great. You guys were very helpful."

New York's Child Support Enforcement told us family court was responsiblet for the original social security number mix up. But it acknowledged and apologized to Joanna for the poor job they did in not fixing it. And child support also said it's using Joanna's situation as a test case to improve customer service. ----

Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips