Her name is Eileen(compromise is no last name) and she really didn’t want me to mention her but I insisted. I told her what she had accomplished was nothing short of a miracle. She didn’t want me to use her name because she will humbly tell anyone, she only did what had to be done to fix an injustice. The injustice was that on every Medicare card, the individual’s social security number was the ID number. Any time a Medicare card, was shown or copied at a medical facility, doctors office, pharmacy, medical supply company or transport company, the social security number could be easily stolen. It has been at least ten years or more since other state and federal departments have stopped using social security numbers a personal IDs. In 2014, there were 2.6 million elderly victims of identity theft.
Eileen is a CPA and many of her clients are elderly with no family. Besides being the best CPA I have ever worked with, she cares for her elderly clients like they are family. One of her elderly clients was supposed to receive a $16,000 refund from her federal taxes. It never showed up. Her client as many elderly do, lived on a fixed income and the refund was critical to manage her budget.
Eileen began her investigation and discovered that her client’s social security number had been stolen and she was a victim of identity theft. She looked at different ways her client’s SSN could have been stolen. She realized how easy it was for the SSN to be stolen simply by viewing the Medicare card.
Eileen in her methodical and determined fashion, decided that she was going to fight for justice. She was going to get the social security numbers removed from Medicare cards and replaced with different identification numbers. A fight she knew would be difficult but she could not understand how our government could put every senior at such risk of identity theft and financial ruin.
She started by writing to her federal Congressperson and Senators. Everyone agreed it was a problem but not high on any political agendas. She sent out emails to all her contacts including friends, clients and professional colleagues to contact their representatives. She then wrote letters to every states Congresspeople and Senators. Same response and no interest. She wrote to Medicare. Nothing happened.
Eileen does not give up. She believes when there is an injustice, it needs to be corrected. She will fight until there is a change no matter how long it takes. Two years passed and she started to write to federal department Directors. She got a response from the IRS who agreed this was a major problem and supported her efforts. He then told her of the exact departments and the names in government who could get this changed (she didn’t want to share that information).
One month ago, I got a call from Eileen. As is her style, we were talking about other issues and she she said” Oh by the way, Medicare is going to remove social security numbers as IDs.” She continued talking about the next subject.
What, I screamed! You did it! You are my hero.
I really was overwhelmed by what she had accomplished and the millions of seniors who will now be protected. She told me that as of January 1, 2016 new cards will not have the social security number. Current enrolled Medicare members, will slowly be given new ID numbers. This is such a victory.
Eileen, thank you for your commitment to fighting injustices and being an advocate for the elderly.