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Ohio.com – Even death won’t deter state agency

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on October 6, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Even death won’t deter state agency

By Bob Dyer
Beacon Journal columnist

Jeremy Bowling hasn’t made a single child-support payment in 19 months. He does, however, have a decent excuse.

He’s dead.

Has been for 19 months.

Now, it’s one thing to be a deadbeat dad. It’s quite another to simply be dead. Apparently the Ohio Child Support Payment people can’t tell the difference.

Every month, without fail, his aunt, who had power of attorney, gets a bill from Ohio Support Payment Central in Columbus. The one for September was $6,763.29.

The aunt, Cuyahoga Falls resident Rhoby Thursby (no relation to Ruby Tuesday), hasn’t sat back and watched the bills stack up. Soon after Bowling died of cancer at the age of 33, she mailed OSPC a copy of the death certificate — paying $15 to get one. And every month since, she has written about his earthly demise on the face of the latest bill and mailed it back, along with her phone number.

With the price of a first-class stamp up to 44 cents, she has grown weary of the drill. She didn’t know what else to do, so she called me.

Well, I certainly know what I’d do if I were her.

On the front of the payment coupon, it says, ”Check this box if your address has changed and write new address on back of coupon.” I’d check that box and write, ”HEAVEN.”

Probably wouldn’t work, either, but at least I’d feel better.

Thursby has managed to maintain her sense of humor despite encountering ”one of the most frustrating places to deal with I’ve ever found.”

She acknowledges that Bowling owed money for his son when he died, but said he was doing the best he could given the financial quagmire that enveloped him as he fought serious health problems.

The cancer he was diagnosed with at age 15 came back when he was 30 and studying chemical engineering at the University of Akron. He was one of only two UA students selected for an internship at the Perry nuclear plant, and his future seemed bright. But after a war against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including a stem-cell transplant, his body simply shut down.

”He loved his son dearly,” Thursby said. ”He didn’t ever try to get out of taking care of his son.”

Even if he had, there’s no excuse for 19 months of bills.

Every other group managed to figure this out, from utility companies to banks to the health-care folks.

His former caseworker in the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency long ago sent Thursby a sympathy card. Heck, the son is getting death benefits.

”I have tried every way I could think of to convince these people he’s dead,” she said, citing phone calls in addition to her mailings.

”Ohio is a big place. How many people are they sending bills to who are dead?”

How many, indeed?

”We really think it’s an isolated incident because we haven’t heard complaints from anyone else,” said Angela Terez, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. She promised the bills would stop, but said she couldn’t comment further because of ”confidentiality.”

Thursby said a local official called her Monday and attributed the problem to an old standby — the computer glitch — and said one more bill might be coming before it can be unglitched.

Must be particularly glitchy.


Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com.

Jeremy Bowling hasn’t made a single child-support payment in 19 months. He does, however, have a decent excuse.

He’s dead.

Has been for 19 months.

Now, it’s one thing to be a deadbeat dad. It’s quite another to simply be dead. Apparently the Ohio Child Support Payment people can’t tell the difference.

Every month, without fail, his aunt, who had power of attorney, gets a bill from Ohio Support Payment Central in Columbus. The one for September was $6,763.29.

The aunt, Cuyahoga Falls resident Rhoby Thursby (no relation to Ruby Tuesday), hasn’t sat back and watched the bills stack up. Soon after Bowling died of cancer at the age of 33, she mailed OSPC a copy of the death certificate — paying $15 to get one. And every month since, she has written about his earthly demise on the face of the latest bill and mailed it back, along with her phone number.

With the price of a first-class stamp up to 44 cents, she has grown weary of the drill. She didn’t know what else to do, so she called me.

Well, I certainly know what I’d do if I were her.

On the front of the payment coupon, it says, ”Check this box if your address has changed and write new address on back of coupon.” I’d check that box and write, ”HEAVEN.”

Probably wouldn’t work, either, but at least I’d feel better.

Thursby has managed to maintain her sense of humor despite encountering ”one of the most frustrating places to deal with I’ve ever found.”

She acknowledges that Bowling owed money for his son when he died, but said he was doing the best he could given the financial quagmire that enveloped him as he fought serious health problems.

The cancer he was diagnosed with at age 15 came back when he was 30 and studying chemical engineering at the University of Akron. He was one of only two UA students selected for an internship at the Perry nuclear plant, and his future seemed bright. But after a war against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including a stem-cell transplant, his body simply shut down.

”He loved his son dearly,” Thursby said. ”He didn’t ever try to get out of taking care of his son.”

Even if he had, there’s no excuse for 19 months of bills.

Every other group managed to figure this out, from utility companies to banks to the health-care folks.

His former caseworker in the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency long ago sent Thursby a sympathy card. Heck, the son is getting death benefits.

”I have tried every way I could think of to convince these people he’s dead,” she said, citing phone calls in addition to her mailings.

”Ohio is a big place. How many people are they sending bills to who are dead?”

How many, indeed?

”We really think it’s an isolated incident because we haven’t heard complaints from anyone else,” said Angela Terez, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. She promised the bills would stop, but said she couldn’t comment further because of ”confidentiality.”

Thursby said a local official called her Monday and attributed the problem to an old standby — the computer glitch — and said one more bill might be coming before it can be unglitched.

Must be particularly glitchy.


Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com.

Ohio.com – Even death won’t deter state agency.

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