A Petrolia man is blaming changes at the local post office for a snafu which has cut his retirement income in half.
Recently, Canada Post asked residents in the town to stop using their post office box numbers on mail and use their street address instead. Each home and business was assigned a new box number during the change. That lead to some confusion and a back up of mail as postal workers had to sort mail with the old box numbers, putting the new numbers on the envelopes.
Around the same time, Kells wife Gloria passed away. The long-time nurse was receiving a pension from the US government. The couple had set up the pension to be deposited directly into their account but occasionally the social security office would send letters to the couple.
When the agency received Gloria Kells’ death certificate, they sent out a questionnaire for her widower to fill out so the benefit would be passed on to him.
It was returned by the post office. It was marked saying no one by that name lived at the address.
That’s when the social security cheques stopped coming and sliced Kells’ income in half.
A few weeks later, a worker at Canada Post retrieved another letter which had been marked for return and gave it to Kells.
Kells believes some temporary workers brought in to clear the backlog of mail likely caused the problem. “They went to return a second letter from the states but a local girl at the post office caught it – but it was already stamped to be returned.”
Kells is still trying to work out the mix-up, calling US Social Security to have the cheques reinstated. So far, he’s missed out on two months of income and after paying for a funeral, his bank account is drained.
“It kind of scares you when your retirement income….is cut in half,” says Kells. “It’s got me a little upset.
“Why they would send back a letter addressed to me from the US Social Security office is beyond me,” he adds. “I get my junk mail.”
Kells has contacted Canada Post demanding they do something, but officials say there is nothing they can do.
So Kells is working with his bank to try to get the benefit reinstated – just like his wife, Gloria, wanted.
“When we set it up, Gloria said, “you be sure you get that pension. I paid into it, I worked for it; you make sure you’re going to get it.”