Feds promise to fix mistake that left two women named Jieun Kim with the same Social Security number

The two South Korean immigrants whose new lives in America were thrown into chaos after they were mistakenly assigned the same Social Security number are getting some relief from the federal government.

Less than a week after NBC News reported on their situation, the Social Security Administration announced that it will allow Jieun Kim of Los Angeles, 31, to keep the number she was assigned in 2018, and Jieun Kim, who he lives in Chicago, bring. suburb and it is also 31, brand new number.

“I’m happy and relieved that the SSA has resolved the issue of issuing one Social Security number to both of us,” L.A. Kim told NBC News on Tuesday.

The Kim who lives outside of Chicago, in Evanston, said she was also very happy after hearing from the SSA.

“The first thought that came to me was, ‘What a relief,'” she said. “Finally, SSA as a government agency is officially listening to me and taking my case seriously.”

Jeff Nesbit, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, confirmed that one of the women will be assigned a new social security number and that their personal information and income history, once combined under the same number, are now separated.

“The agency moved quickly to resolve it as soon as both cases were brought to our attention,” Nesbit said. “Solving cases like this is part of the agency’s mission.”

Chicagoland Kim, who is a doctoral student in Northwestern University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and works there as a teaching assistant, said she was preparing for class when she heard from the director of the SSA office in Evanston, a woman . which she had previously dealt with.

“To be honest when I picked up the phone and found out it was from the Social Welfare agency, I was panicked and even a little bit scared that something had gone wrong,” she said. .

But the director asked for news that a new Social Security card with a new number had been issued and was in the mail, along with an official explanation for the bureaucratic snafu, she said.

“For the most part, the director apologized to me on behalf of his organization,” she said.

LA Kim said she has not received an apology from the SSA, but has received confirmation that she no longer shares her social security number with her name in Evanston. She said her finances are still a mess and she wants to move her green card application again.

“I’m not entirely happy because I’m still left with so many problems, including issues with the IRS, because of the SSA’s mistake,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., said his office in Los Angeles is aware of Kim’s LA situation and is ready to help her.

Both women were born on the same day in South Korea, albeit in different cities.

Their problems began about five years ago when they were both issued Social Security cards with the same number.

LA Kim received her on June 18, 2018. Chicagoland Kim received her card a little over a month later, on July 23, 2018.

They were soon arguing that their bank and savings accounts had been closed and their credit cards blocked, and that they suspected identity theft. And it wasn’t until recently that the two Kims realized they had been issued the same Social Security number by mistake.

The breakthrough came this month when LA Kim went to her Chase Bank branch to find out why her credit card had been cancelled. She discovered that on February 4, Chicagoland Kim had left her phone number at her Chase Bank branch with instructions for anyone using her social security number “to contact do with her.”

When the women realized what had happened, they said they received pushback from the SSA when they tried to convince suspicious agency workers that they had both been issued the same number.

“I was getting so desperate and so worried,” Chicagoland Kim said. “There seemed to be no way out of the mess. And finally, just one phone call from the director, and the official letter changed all that. It destroyed all the bits I had when I was facing the mess.”

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