CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Phil Sommers says he’s paid Social Security taxes for 48 years and now he’s 65 years old and ready to retire with his wife, Mari, but said he’s being denied his Social Security benefits.
“It doesn’t make sense. They took the money. Now they want to keep the money. It’s put a lot of strain on myself and my family,” Sommers said.
Sommers was born in Canada but vital records show his father was a U.S. citizen. Sommers said he grew up in the U.S. and worked here his entire life.
He showed WSOC’S Whistleblower 9investigative reporter Paul Boyd what he said is his original Social Security card from 1968.
Sommers also provided a Social Security statement showing 48 years of payments into the system.
He wanted to know how Social Security can issue a card, take payments all these years and not pay the benefit.
“They couldn’t give me the answer. I asked for the answer,” Sommers said.
Whistleblower 9 asked the Social Security Administration for answers.
“Due to privacy laws, we cannot discuss individual cases,” spokeswoman Patti Patterson said. “However, we are in contact with Mr. Sommers and providing assistance. I can provide some general information on requirements for receiving Social Security retirement benefits.
When applying for Social Security benefits, one of the eligibility requirements is U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. Social Security does not determine U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. We depend on the agency that issued the document provided, such as Department of Homeland Security, for immigration status and Department of State for U.S. passports, for example.”
Sommers’ issue hinges on when he became a U.S. citizen. He said immigration officials only consider him a citizen as of 2016.
Whistleblower 9 obtained paperwork from 1972 that clearly showed the government considered Phil Sommers a U.S. citizen at least 44 years ago when he served in the U.S. Army.
“I served honorably with the U.S. Army. I just feel cheated,” Sommers said.
Sommers said he should be receiving $809 in Social Security every month plus approximately $28,000 in back pay, because he’s been fighting this for almost four years.
His wife said they’re not rich and need the money.
“He loves his country and he’s getting stepped on. It’s just not fair,” Mari Sommers said.
Phil Sommers said he’s had to start working again. His family has also been in touch with U.S. senators and even wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, but said Sommers still hasn’t received a penny.