SANTA FE SPRINGS (CBSLA.com) — A 69-year-old Vietnam veteran would like to retire, but the government he once fought for refuses to pay the Social Security benefits he has earned.
William Murphy has spent the past two years going back and forth with the Social Security Administration, trying to prove to bureaucrats that he is indeed a U.S. citizen.
“Now it’s like, ‘oh well, you served us and you’re just a castaway.’ I feel like I’m nothing,” Murphy said.
The confusion stems from Murphy’s paperwork. Murphy’s father was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force who married an Englishwoman during World War II. The family came to the U.S. on the Queen Mary.
“I had dual citizenship at the time,” he said.
After marrying his sweetheart and working for decades as a truck driver, Murphy decided two years ago that he was ready to retire. But Social Security officials rejected all the papers he provided to prove his citizenship – Army enlistment papers, a birth certificate, even his Queen Mary passenger document.
“I’m a U.S. citizen, stamped and signed by a customs agent,” Murphy said. But that wasn’t enough – they instructed him to get a passport, another $160 out of his pocket.
Murphy says his “American dream” has been shattered. Years of his stubs show Social Security being deducted from his paychecks, but even now, what’s owed to Murphy is still being withheld.
“I just want to retire,” Murphy said. “I want my money, that’s entitled to me. That’s my money.”
CBS2/KCAL9’s Suzie Suh reports that emails and calls to Social Security officials have not been returned. In the meantime, Murphy says he is reaching out to local lawmakers for help.