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The title pretty much sums it up. He worked for the University of California. Trying to get through to them is a nightmare. I spent two days on the phone for 2.5 hours each. They have a call back system where you press a button and they will call you back based on your place in line, but that can take days



Have been able to get a hold of them twice. First time was in late April. They said they had sent the "survivor's packet" but it had been returned to sender because the address was wrong (their home zip code was changed a while back and I guess Dad forgot to inform them)



Called a month later, they said they would try to expedite sending the packet. Still have not received it



In early July, I sent them a letter, expressing my strong desire for some sort of communication here. Still no response



What recourse do I/we have here? Is it time to get an attorney involved?

Find Care & Housing
Post it on every social media forum you can. Tell a sad story about how bad they are then sit back and see how fast someone responds! Organizations hate to get negative publicity. Be careful about giving out personal information, set up a separate email/media account if necessary.
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Reply to Frances73
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I would contact an Elder law attorney. Consultations are free. With more technology its made communication 10x harder, go figure. If you still get nowhere with a elder law attorney, or they are requiring a retainer to help you, let me know and we can discuss some options. Good luck
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Reply to Michellecim
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In case you don’t already have a copy, here is this
https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/forms/pdf/survivor-beneficiary-handbook-for-family-members-beneficiaries-of-former-uc-employees.pdf

Did the letter go to the address on page 6, step 3? If the turnaround time is still 6 weeks and you sent yours in early July …

You may also be interested in this (I’m sure that the warning to check to make sure the address was good would have been nice to have earlier)
https://retireecenter.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk4291/files/files/AftertheDeath.pdf

Similar associations for retirees from other campuses are listed at http://cucra.ucsd.edu/associations/index.html
and some offer “advocacy”

I believe that ERISA would have required Mom’s signature to waive her right to receive part of his pension, which hopefully they didn’t do. Is there a copy of the application in her files to confirm what option (25%, 50%, 100%) they did select?
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Reply to Frebrowser
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Contact your state representative for the area where mom and dad lived. Most agencies respond quickly to government requests for information - they don't want to be seen as unresponsive or creating delay (even if that is the norm). Send an email to your representative so you have a paper trail.
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Reply to my2cents
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Frances73 Aug 21, 2022
I was trying to get an Aid and Attendance pension for my Mom based on Dad's military service. I finally contacted both state senators, heard back from one the next day and got a confirmation letter from the VA within days! That's what we pay them for folks.
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Get a lawyer. That's too long already, what a disgrace. They can ignore your calls but they won't ignore the law. Good luck!
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Reply to Lifesabitch
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sd0101: Retain an elder law attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I'd recommend getting an attorney also.
And, whatever you send through the USPS - send registered mail with a signed receipt.
* Keep calling.
* Always ask for a reference # for the conversation you had.
* Keep accurate records of calls / communications: Date, time, who you spoke to, what transpired, follow-up needed.
- Calendar any follow-up needs.
Gena.
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Reply to TouchMatters
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Get a lawyer and fast...I had to do the same thing. And the next day the check was in the mail. It's bad enough going through bereavement without companies trying to take advantage of you. Don't be a lady about this--it's business.
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Reply to Ireland
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Contacting constituent services in the offices of the assemblyman and senator who represent you is the best way to start.
Take notes and follow their guidance. They may want you to make a start on the problem before they can get involved.
Any documents that they request - keep a copy (even if you send the certified version, have a copy of it for your records) of everything you send, plus a cover letter. Mail it registered so a person must sign for it. Ask the post office when it will be delivered. If you are sending it to a particular office, call them and ask if the packet has arrived yet...on the earliest day the post office says it will be delivered....and every morning, to do your own attempt to ensure it is received. Ask to speak to whomever is managing the case related to your dad's pension.
Once you have a responsible person, and a case number, then the problem belongs to someone 'in the system'. Constituent services can work with that person, if they dont already have a person at this university that they. know.

Make up a packet of certified documents that show his identity, his work years, his death, the marriage certificate, and any other documentation of his source of income. Were you his health care proxy? Was your mom's name on shared back accounts? Is his retirement check still being deposited into his account or was that account closed when he died? Old tax returns, maybe? Is there another family. member who could help you with this job?
It's frustrating - I find assigning myself 30 minutes work a day on the problem helps me then be done for the day. And to give myself the weekend 'off'.
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Reply to Clairesmum
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My dad has CALPERS and there is association of retirees from his college district; they maintain a website and have a newsletter and host events, etc. Occasionally the newsletter has mentioned pension issues and snafus. (Such as a computer error that drastically reduced the amount of payment to 300 or pensioners, including my dad, during the New Year’s holiday when no one was available to contact about it for a few days!) Perhaps his specific UC campus might have something similar with a contact number/liaison person who might have helpful ideas?

Hope you can somehow resolve this bureaucratic nightmare soon!
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Are you saying that your dad didn't pay into Social Security at all? Ever?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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JoAnn29 Jul 30, 2022
At one time government workers did not pay into SS. They receive a pension. Back when my sister was working for the Federal Gov (before her death in 1996) the law changed but it was either take the pension or take the SS. You could not have both. In some States teachers and it looks like Professors too, only receive pensions, not SS.
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I think UC has its own retirement system separate from CALPERS.

Is mom getting Social Security survivor benefits?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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sd0101 Jul 30, 2022
This is correct, UC has their own pension system separate from CALPERS

Mom is NOT getting any Social Security benefits from him because he was given the option of having that money either put there or in investments, and he chose the latter
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P.S., If you attend the CalPers event, bring a copy of your Dad's death certificate and your birth certificate that illustrates your relationship with both parents.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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Yes, and after his wife passes, his children could be designated beneficiaries if he chose to do it that way. If you go, seek out the the highest ranking person and plead your Mom's case.

Also, about death benefits: https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/active-members/death-benefits

If you don't get answers, please consider a consultation with an Elder Law Attorney.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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They're having a CALPERS event late August, can you get there?

https://www.calpers.ca.gov
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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I found this link:

https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/oe/help/contacts.html

Are you able to log in to dad's account? That may provide an email address you can contact.

In your shoes, I would call from local congressperson and ask to be put in touch with their elder affairs staff.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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sd0101 Jul 30, 2022
Unfortunately, I cannot access his account because they require phone verification via text message, and we gave up his phone because it had died and I didn't know his password, and I could not get any help from the cell phone provider in getting back in
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ANYTHING you do with the gov't is going to require patience and time. I'm sorry, but that's been my experience.

DH applied for SS and didn't hear anything for 6 months. Finally, he got somebody who would actually talk to him, and he went to the SS office. Then things happened. A week later his back pay was paid out and things have been smooth since.

The VA is notorious for being slow, slow, slow. Keep calling---they seriously don't care about you, sad as that sounds.

Is there a brick and mortar bldg that you can go to in person? That's what finally got my DH's benefits rolling. Going to an office and getting a person involved, instead of patiently waiting for someone to return phone calls.

I do believe that your mom will continue to receive benefits, that's probably something you can look up online.
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Reply to Midkid58
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sd0101 Jul 30, 2022
There is a brick and mortar building, although it's 500 miles away from me

Might be worth the try though to get this resolved
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I forgot to mention that Dad had always told Mom she would continue to receive his pension on a monthly basis after his death until HER death, which from what his other coworkers have told me is standard
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JoAnn29 Jul 30, 2022
No, its not standard. When Dad retired he had to name your Mom as a survivor. Dad then gets less in his monthly payment so Mom can receive part of his pension. If she gets his full pension, she is a lucky lady because thats not how it usually works. Surviving spouses get a %.
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