Probe: August 23, 2001

August 23, 2001

QUESTION: When I got on Social Security disability, I had a total of $9,100 in back pay coming. Social Security said it would send the money in two payments. I got a letter from Social Security saying it would send my bank the final payment ($4,577.68) no later than July 20.

The money didn't come. When I went to Social Security we were told the money would arrive Aug. 21. The check didn't come again.

I've been to Social Security so many times but I can't shake loose the money. I need it and I don't know what to do. Can you help? — Watching-the-mail, El Centro

Ana Quiñones, manager of the El Centro Social Security office, said your check didn't reach the El Centro office because the U.S. Treasury Department didn't send it.


You didn't do anything wrong and neither did the El Centro office, she said.

However, you were confused about the August date when the money was supposed to arrive. The date was not Aug. 21 but Aug. 29.

She promised to "stay on top" of your case until you get your check. In the meantime, she assigned an office supervisor to find out what went wrong, she said.

QUESTION: I am a writer working on an article for a San Diego newspaper about the death of the writer Nathaniel West, killed 60 years ago at the intersection of Highway 111 and old Highway 80.

Do you think any of your older readers know anything about the Dec. 22, 1940 accident that took the life of West and his wife?

An inquest in Imperial County concluded West caused the accident when he ran a stop sign on 111. That was 60 years ago. Most official county records in the Coroner's Office and the inquest proceedings have been destroyed, thrown away or lost.

Does anybody remember Hazel Livingston, the Imperial Valley Press reporter who wrote the story of the inquest? I wonder if her notes still exist? — Writer, San Diego

If Hazel is still around, she would be a bit long in the tooth. However, we know a handful of local women teasing 90 who are still mentally agile.

If you know anything about Ms. Livingston, or the accident, call us on our PROBE line at 337-3448. You can reach writer Tom Larson at (858) 273-4806, e-mail him at, or write him a letter at 3230 Ogala Ave., San Diego, CA 92117.

QUESTION: I recently bought a shirt for $10 with a tag that said, "Other stores sell this for $28.50." To what extent, can I believe this? Does this come under "truth in advertising" laws? — Shopper, Brawley

We take such claims with a grain of salt, although we can't rule out that some store somewhere didn't sell that shirt for $28.

The real test is your judgment that the shirt is worth $10. Since you bought it, you obviously decided it was. If the shirt falls apart after a couple of weeks, you'll know you paid too much.

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