HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — A Harrisburg woman, who’d been trying to collect money owed to her from the federal government for years, is now finally receiving payments. It may never have happened if it weren’t for our KELOLAND News Investigation. It took going public with her story to cut through the bureaucratic red tape.
We first introduced you to Carolynne Pederson in June. Since 20-13, she’d been trying to collect on a court order from her divorce settlement. The problem now is that she has terminal cancer and it wasn’t her ex-husband who owed her the money, but rather the federal government.
In June, Carolynne Pederson showed us the court order that she was entitled to $21,000 from her ex-husband’s Federal Employment Retirement System account. The Court ordered an immediate payment in one lump sum back in 2013.
Angela Kennecke: So tell me why you haven’t gotten the money?
Pederson: That’s what I’m hoping you can help me with.
KELOLAND Investigates discovered that even through the court said she was to get the money all at once, federal law trumped the court order and she would receive payments once her ex retired. He did so in December of 2018, but six months later, Pederson hadn’t seen a dime.
“I checked with my bank several times and they kept telling me, “no, no, no and then one glorious day they said, ‘yes, payment has been deposited,'” Pederson said.
Earlier this month, within three days, Pederson received two payments, totaling $5,000. She’s happy the money is finally coming in before it’s too late.
“Because I have Stage 4 lung cancer and I’m currently on borrowed time right now,” She said.
Pederson credits KELOLAND Investigates with getting the ball rolling on her behalf.
“I do think it shined some light on it and it got some attention. Otherwise that one gal had told me they just sometimes put the mail in a folder. At least it made them take that folder out and dust it off; so I’m happy for that. And thank you for your efforts, I really appreciate that,” she said.
If Pederson were to die before she received all the payments, her heirs would not be entitled to any remaining funds. She has filed a legal request with OPM to make an exception because of her illness and pay her the remaining sum, as ordered by the court. She has not heard back yet.