CalPERS computer system causes problems for local widow

CalPERS computer system causes problems for local widow »Play Video
Bakersfield resident, George Angeloni, worked for state water resources board for 44 years. His wife says he began paying into his retirement since the first day on the job. In August, Mr. Angeloni died leaving behind his wife of fifty-two years. However, thanks to his career with the state and careful planning his wife taken was care of, or so he thought.

It wasn't long after Mr. Angeloni's passing that Mrs. Angeloni started running into problems getting her share of his retirement. Angeloni says she initially contacted CalPERS, who handles retirement for state employees, back in September. "When I called 'pers (CalPERS) I was told not to worry that the retirement was set up that I am going to be continually getting it," said Veronika Angeloni. But Angeloni says it wasn't until October that she received paperwork from CalPERS needed to prove her the beneficiary. Angeloni says she immediately filed the necessary documents and waited for her check. By the beginning of November, when Angeloni was supposed to receive her husband’s retirement, she got nothing. Around the same time, she received a notice from her health insurance company canceling her benefits. So she called CalPERS again. "They told me they had no idea what was happening but they would get back with me," says Angeloni.

So we contacted CalPERS. They called us back right away and said they're looking into Mrs. Angeloni's case. The very next day CalPERS informed us that they resolved Mrs. Angeloni's claim and said that she'd be getting a check in the next few days. After we ran this story several other widowers called Eyewitness News complaining of similar situations concerning delayed checks. We asked CalPERS about this problem. A representative says a glitch in their new half-billion dollar computer system is the reason for the delayed payments. They say that they are rushing to fix the problem and maintain that taking care of their members is their top priority.

But Angeloni says the hardest part isn't the frustration of dealing with the delay, but being so busy fighting for her benefits that she hasn't been able to fully mourn her husband. "It's been very difficult, it's been very difficult, but I have been so busy, and maybe the heavens are moving things so I don't have time, because I am so focused on all of this non-sense," explained a tearful Angeloni.

Angeloni also tells Eyewitness News that dealing with CalPERS hasn't been her only paperwork nightmare. She says Social Security also threw her a curve ball, by declaring her dead instead of her husband. The widow called Kevin McCarthy's office that got Social Security to straighten out the issue. However, until she gets a new card, Angeloni has to carry around a piece of paper stating that she is alive.