SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) - A Springfield woman found out that the federal government is holding onto money she is entitled to having because of a backlog at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Apparently, she's not alone.
Claudia Hillard's mother died mother died this year at the age of 88. Elynor Heine had worked as an administrative assistant at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for more than 30 years. After she retired , Heine started receiving checks to which her daughter , the only heir, is now entitled.
"I received a letter from the attorney's office who was handling her estate and in that packet that he sent me there were two forms, one to fill out for Metropolitan Life for her life insurance and the other to fill out for her retirement," Hillard told 2 NEWS On ASSIGNMENT.
Months ago Hillard sent in the information requested and waited. When she didn't hear anything for 30 days she called the number on the form. It connected her with an office in Pennsylvania.
"She said are you sitting down and I said well, yes I am, and she said we will probably not be able to process this paperwork until 2014," Hillard explained.
Turns out Hillard is not alone. There is such a backlog at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or OPM, that thousands of people are being asked to wait a year or more.
Hillard said she called 2 NEWS On ASSIGNMENT for others. She said, "It's the other people because she said there are hundreds of other people who are angry and upset and in some cases I feel like maybe they need the money, maybe they're ill so I just decided to take this on not just for myself but everyone else going through this."
Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH 3rd district) responded, "The backlog at OPM for processing retirees benefits is unacceptable. I'm glad that the OPM Director is taking steps to address this issue and begin processing these claims in a timely fashion. If the Director fails to meet these goals Congress will need to hold the Agency and its leadership accountable."
Congressman Steve Austria (R-OH 7th district) said it's just as bad if not worse for veterans with claims. Some have terminal illnesses. "I think all of our federal employees who have paid into the retirement plans, their health plans deserves to have those benefits in a timely manner, deserves to have their claims filed in a timely manner. We have a responsibility in Washington to make sure that happens with our government agencies," Austria said.
More on 2 NEWS at 6.
Mark your calendars: House Speaker John Boehner has invited President Barack Obama to deliver the State of the Union address on Jan. 28.
The University of Dayton will graduate its Fall 2013 class on Dec. 14.
"I expect the snow to start falling sometime after 9 p.m. Friday night." - 2 NEWS Chief Meteorologist Brian Davis
Police will be meeting with prosecutors in the "near future" to determine what charges a person of interest will face in connection with Tuesday's shooting in West Carrollton, officials there announced.
Firefighters were called to an east Dayton home Friday morning.