TROUBLESHOOTERS: Woman waiting on benefits due from divorce settlement
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A divorce settlement from 20 years ago is causing problems for one Bladen County woman. She’s fighting with the federal government to try and get money she is owed.
Ramona Duncan divorced her husband in 1991. As part of the settlement she would get 50 percent of the retirement funds he accumulated between 1975 and 1991 payable to her once he retired from the US Postal Service.
“He retired in 2007 when I believe it was, he retired from the federal system, and I was waiting, and I have never received any money from the us postal service,” Duncan, who is deaf, said through an interpreter.
Fed up, she hired an attorney.
“The court ordered in October 2009, I won the court case, saying yes, I should be getting that retirement money, and they were supposed to begin paying me half of his retirement,” Duncan said.
This was two years ago. She sent certified letters, left messages and still nothing.
“It’s truly frustrating,” Duncan said. “How am I supposed to get their response to my phone call? How can I discuss it with them if they won’t even return a call? There’s just no recourse for me.”
We contacted the US Postal Service. It told us this was handled through another government agency the: Office of Personnel Management. So we called and even sent e-mails asking the OPM why Duncan still has not received her ex-husband’s retirement benefits.
“On background, it is our policy not to comment on individual cases as we would be violating privacy laws,” said Jennifer Dorsey, a media specialist with the OPM, in an e-mail. “However, we are actively working on the case and will be contacting Ms. Duncan directly to provide her with an update.”
That was a week ago. When Duncan still did not get a response, we tried again.
Finally, Jim Ketterman with OPM Retirement Services called back. The holdup? Duncan’s attorney.
Ketterman says the attorney has not sent OPM the official “Court Order of Benefits,” which is required.
“We are ready to process hers today, but we’ve got to get the documents from her attorney,” Ketterman said.
Once that happens, Duncan will get her money.
We learned late this afternoon that Duncan’s attorney has sent the missing documents to OPM. She should get her benefits shortly.