Pension problems

Seven On Your Side
July 20, 2009 5:39:56 PM PDT
After the woman's brother died, there was no money in the estate to pay for a funeral. Relatives had to pass the hat, even borrow money to pay. But there was money after all, the man's sister was eligible for survivor benefits from the deceased man's pension fund. "Citibank acts like they don't want to get us the money. And I don't understand. I don't understand it. I really don't." Rosemarie Haines is frustrated. She's been trying to get Citibank to relinquish her brother's pension ever since he died last New Year's Day. "No explanation, (Citibank only said) we're looking into it."

Rose's brother Anton worked for Citibank for 15 years. Health problems cost him both his legs and ultimately his life. But Anton left no estate. That meant nearly a dozen relatives had to raise nearly $8500 to pay for his funeral.

"We had to borrow money to bury Anton so, this money, I need to pay people back. And he's entitled to it. His family's entitled to it," said the Bed-Stuy relative.

Rose sent Citi Anton's death certificate last January. The bank even verified he had a pension coming.

"They told me it would take a couple of weeks. And I'm thinking 2 to 3 weeks, you know for them to get back to me. It's been 7 months."

So we called CitiGroup. The big bank told us they needed 2 more months to cut Rose a check. That was too long, so we made me more calls and finally Rose got her check in days.

And it was more than Rose expected, more than $43,000. Her brother's legacy finally delivered.

"I called every week for 7 months," said a grateful Rose. "I got in contact with you guys, within 48 hours, my check was here. Wow. My family from the bottom of my heart, I thank you guys."

Now Rose will turn that check over to the estate. She'll be able to reimburse the family members who paid for the funeral and then some. We repeatedly asked Citigroup what led to the delay in payment, they apologized for the inconvenience to Rose but never gave a reason for the holdup.

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Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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