7 On Your Side: New York family fights 4 years to get deceased dad's retirement benefits

Nina Pineda Image
Friday, April 8, 2022
Family fights 4 years to get deceased dad's retirement benefits
A Bronxville family has been trying to get their deceased dad's retirement money which is currently held by an agency of the federal government.

BRONXVILLE, New York (WABC) -- They were nearly four decades of retirements savings that a longtime Westchester County postal employee paid into.

But years after he died suddenly, his kids, now grown and still grieving, were still trying to get that money which was being held by an agency of the federal government.

"You can't tell me what was done with this account thus far and you've had it since 2018?" Danielle Alonzo said into a telephone. "Correct," an operator said.

Welcome to Danielle Alonzo's four-year nightmare trying to get her deceased dad's retirement money.

"You guys just have it sitting in a computer and no one can tell me anything," Alonzo said. "I wanted to rip my hair out or grab them from the phone. It's torture. "

The money was earned by her dad, Alfred. Known as Alonzo, he sorted mail in the Morgan Station post office for four decades.

"He worked the nightshift. And he put his headphones on and handled the mail. Everyone knew who Alonzo was," Danielle Alonzo said.

But in 2018, her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"How long was it between diagnosis and when he passed?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked. "Months," Danielle Alonzo said.

After her dad's passing, she submitted all of the forms to the Office of Personnel Management, the federal agency overseeing benefits of postal employees, to receive his retirement money worth more than $100,000.

"I would call them over and over again, multiple emails, multiple calls. And then they said just file it again and that was almost a year later," Danielle Alonzo said.

She says she had to file the paperwork three times, then started calling.

"How many calls do you think you put into the Office of Personnel Management?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"Over 50, 50 to 100," Danielle Alonzo said.

She started taping the calls, documenting the hours she was on hold.

"I honestly need the world to hear what I was going through," Danielle said.

Danielle is used to being on camera as she's written, directed and starred in her own autobiographical Web-series, 'Bronxish.'

But this frustration was no acting.

This OPM frustration isn't new, last December we got back a six figure payout for the family of Anthony Puccio, a letter carrier so great they named a building after him.

So 7 On Your Side got in touch with the Office of Personnel Management. OPM wouldn't say why there was a delay, but a week later got in touch with all four of Alonzo's children and they all received their late dad's benefits.

"You guys did in a week what we couldn;t do in 4 years," Danielle Alonzo said.

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